OK, so let’s get one thing out of the way before we go any further – I am not a football pundit (that’s soccer for those of you on the other side of the Atlantic!) so if you’re looking for detailed squad or game analysis you’ve come to the wrong place! But as the UEFA Euro 2016 football tournament hosted by France is upon us I thought I’d have a look at the Italian team to see what their chances are. So heres almost all you need to know and a few interesting, fun facts about the squad to “kick off” with (did you see what I did there? Genius!)!
1. The Italian national football team is known as Gli Azzurri
The Italian national team is known as Gli Azzurri, or “the blues”, as they wear azure blue shirts and white shorts. The sky blue colour comes from Azzurro Savoia, or Savoy blue, the colour usually associated with the Savoy royal family who helped to unite Italy in 1861.
2. Forza Azzurri! Come on Blues!
To cheer the team on, the shout is Forza Azzurri! or “Come on blues”!
3. Antonio Conte is the team coach
The national coach for the team is Antonio Conte who’s been in charge since August 2014. He started out as a mid-field player for his hometown team, Lecce in Italy’s Serie A League. And later transferred to Italian giants Juventus, where he spent 13 seasons, winning 5 league titles, the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Cup.
He was also capped 20 times for Italy and played in the squads that finished up runners-up at the 1994 FIFA world cup and UEFA Euro 2000. Not too shabby eh?
4. The Italian team for Euro 2016 was announced on 31st May 2016
Antonio Conte: “The choices are made, we reflected a great deal and picked the best at our disposal. I have some pretty precise ideas."
— footballitalia (@footballitalia) May 31, 2016
Coach Antonio Conte announced the final 23-strong Italian squad on 31st May, but his choices weren’t without controversy. Veteran midfielder Andrea Pirlo and notorious AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli had already been dropped but fans were apparently surprised that popular midfielders Jorginho and Montolivo were also left out, especially given Conte’s comments that Italy is lacking in strong young talent to add into the team!
Keep your fingers crossed that experience wins out over youthful energy!
For the full squad click here
5. Italy’s team has a transfer value of €272 million!
If you wanted to buy the Italian squad you’d need to stump up €272 million according to www.goal.com. But they’re not the most valuable team; in fact Italy are only 8th on the list. The most expensive team is Germany’s team valued at a whopping €562 million and England come in at 5th valued at €446 million! Mamma mia!!
6. Italy is drawn in Group E of the UEFA Euro 2016 Tournament
Italy has been drawn in Group E along with Belgium, the Republic of Ireland & Sweden. The Azzurri are second favourites, after Belgium, to make it out of the group stage to the knock-outs so with 2 squads going through from each group we’ve got to hope Italy can do enough to avoid going home early! The 4 best third-ranked sides from the group stages also go through, but Italian fans would clearly qualify resoundingly with wins, rather than as the best of the leftovers!
Their group stage matches are –
Monday 13th June, 8pm – Belgium v Italy – RESULT 0 v 2, Italy won!
Friday 17th June, 2pm – Italy v Sweden – RESULT 1 v 0, Italy won and are through to the next stage already!
Wednesday 22nd June, 8pm – Italy v Republic of Ireland
All times are in British Summer Time (GMT+1) so add an hour for European times and add/subtract whatever you need to for all other territories!
7. Italy’s team are the 5th oldest!
Based on the average age of the players in each squad, UEFA have calculated that Italy is the 5th oldest in the competition with an average age of 28.43 years, 9 players over 30 and only 7 under 25!
The Republic of Ireland is oldest, followed by Russia, Czech Republic and Slovakia. If you want to know which teams are the shortest, tallest, youngest or even their average weights click here for all UEFA’s stats!
8. Three Italy players make the ultimate fantasy Euro team
In the run up to the tournament UEFA asked the public to vote for their ultimate Euro squad, made up of the best players for each position regardless of nation.
Over 3.5 million votes were cast! And over 300,000 teams were selected by fans! And the nation who had the most ultimate players? Italy, of course, contributing 3 players to the fantasy line-up – they are Italy’s captain Super Gianluigi Buffon in goal, Paolo Maldini and personal favourite Andrea Pirlo!
For the full line up – including Zidane, Ronaldo and Beckenbauer – check out the VivoAzzurri webisite!
9. Italy to win?
Italy is one of the most successful national teams in the history of the World Cup having won four times and making the final twice more. But in the Euro tournament, Italy has only won once, in 1968, although it has made the final twice since in 2000 and 2012 so there is still hope!
UEFA Euro 2016 kicks off in Paris on Friday 10th June
The tournament kicks off on Friday 10th June and runs at stadiums throughout France for a month up to the final on Sunday 10th July so there is plenty of time to catch some football. To follow the action go to the official website here. FORZA AZZURRI!!!
All photos are credited as appropriate or are Creative Commons. None of these photos were taken by DreamDiscoverItalia.
The post UEFA Euro 2016 – all you need to know about Italy’s team! first appeared on DreamDiscoverItalia.