Italy has surprised football fans with their performance in the qualifying stages for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The team is known for having sub-par results during the first stages of the tournament before they go all out at final tournaments. But this time, they took control of Europe’s Group B with an unbeaten record.
Responsible for Italy’s success is team coach Cesare Prandelli. It is his decision to make “catenaccio” a thing of the past and opt for a more attacking style of football. Since he became the coach, Italy has qualified for the UEFA EURO 2012 and a ticket to the finals of the FIFA World Cup.
Italy has a rich FIFA World Cup finals history. The squad has won four times in the tournament and two second place finishes. It places second on the all-time FIFA World Cup honors board with Brazil on top. Italy and Brazil are also the only teams to win the tournament two times in a row. Fans of the sport regard their 4-3 win over West Germany during the semifinals of the 1970 World Cup in Mexico as one of the best matches in the history of the competition.
Taking the role of captain for the Italian FIFA World Cup team is goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. He is the only survivor of the 2006 winning squad along with Andrea Pirlo. Joining them are young players such as midfielder Marco Verratti and central defender Andrea Ranocchia. Giuseppe Rossi returns to the squad and Stephen El Shaarawy has become reliable as a striker. Another player to watch for in the squad is DomenicoBerardi, who scored four goals for Sassuolo against AC Milan.
The partnership of Pablo Osvaldo and Mario Balotelli also play a vital part in the success of the team. Super Mario can gain more fans across the globe if he can avoid getting red cards and limit his emotional outbursts. It will help Italy’s World Cup hopes if he focuses on scoring more goals for the team.
In the first stage of FIFA World Cup, Italy belongs in Group D with Uruguay, Costa Rica, and England. Uruguay is the seeded team while Italy is the favorite to top the group. England needs a lot of luck to survive the stage. Costa Rica can come up with an upset, but they need to do a lot more in order to qualify to the next round.
Italy FIFA World Cup team can bring back the trophy to the country. The squad’s conditioning will be tested as they play in the humid and hot venue in Brazil. Four years ago the squad failed to get out of the group stage. This year the team has the right players to win it all.
The current odds on Italy to win the World Cup are 22/1. That means Las Vegas thinks they have a pretty good chance. They’re also favored to win Group D.