The great Italian Football Team

From a trophy room perspective, you can easily compare the Italian soccer team to that of Brazil, both winning an impressive number of World Cups, with Italy coming one cup short of Brazil's 5 different wins.
But a comparison of the two teams from any other point of view is simply impossible, since they are at different ends in what regards their style of play.
If Brazil won most of these World Cups through offensive, spectacular soccer, the Italian national soccer team won most of theirs through a pragmatic, tactical style.
But let's not get into any more details on that comparison and instead focus strictly on Italy's soccer team, from its beginnings to being crowned World Champions for the fourth time recently.

Italian Soccer Team – Early Days
In its early days, with Italian soccer teams playing in regional competitions instead of a single organized championship throughout the entire country, it was hard for the Italian Football Federation to scoop up a solid team, although some selections were tried from the best teams of each region around the first decade of the 20th century.
The first such team debuted in Milan, on May 15th of 1910, against France who was also young as a soccer team. The Italians won 6-2 and the idea of an Italy soccer team was now a reality and had more support than ever.
Italian Soccer Team – First World Cups - Italy didn't participate in the first World Cup held in 1930, although their national team was already a steady and strong one. Remarkably, on their debut on the World Cup stage in 1934, they managed a series of impressive matches on home soil that earned them the first World Cup in the history of Italian soccer, after winning 2-1
against Czechoslovakia
Still hungry for trophies and fame and determined to defend their title, the Italian soccer team entered the 1938 World Cup set to be held in France. Their run in the competition confirmed that their 1934 success was not an accident, as they managed to defend their title and add a new one in their trophy room, after beating Hungary 4-2.
Many rushed to suggest that these two Cups were obtained by Italy's national soccer team in a time when the game wasn't as demanding as it would be after 1950 and the competition wasn’t as rough back then. Admittedly, soccer was not at the same level in 1938 as it will soon be in the following World Cups, but then again, the Italian soccer team didn't have any more time to develop either.
Italian Soccer Team – Modern Era
After their 1938 World Cup win and after World War II and its aftermath, the Italy soccer team lost in strength considerably. You can imagine how the fans felt, having to cheer for a rather poor team, after having cheered for one that was crowned World Cup champs twice in 4 years.
Fortunately for them, this darker period in the life of the Italian soccer team was not long and they cleared the dust off their shoulders, setting of to win
their first European Cup in 1968.
Despite remaining a strong squad, the Italian national soccer team didn't manage any other trophies for 14 years,
until winning their third World Cup in 1982, after defeating 3-1 a star-studded West Germany side in the final.
The 1982 Italian soccer team is considered by many one of the strongest teams ever to win the World Cup and the manner in which they won the final,
with West Germany's consolation goal coming inconvincibly late, gives them a solid argument.
The last of the four trophies came recently, in the 2006 World Cup hosted by Germany (there seems to be a bond between Germany and Italy's success…).
Going in the competition after a major scandal that found several of the Italian squad's players relegated to Serie B, without a team or simply frustrated by the scandal, few gave them any chances of success. Still, their pragmatic play and great defending earned them a spot in the final against a France team that had just eliminated Brazil without even allowing the South American side to shoot once on their goal.
The 2006 final revolved around two players, France's Zinedine Zidane and Italy's Marco Matterazzi. In the 7th minute, Zinedine Zidane, playing his last match of his career, was fouled in the penalty box by Matterazzi and scored from the spot with an unbeatable shot.
It only took Matterazzi 12 minutes to get his revenge, scoring in France's goal with a powerful header. It seemed the game was heading towards a 1-1 deadlock and penalty shootouts were imminent, when the same two players, Zidane and Matterazzi were involved in an incident that ended with Zizou headbutting the Italian and being sent off the pitch.
Italy eventually won the shoot-out, claiming their well-earned 4th World Cup and also clearing some of the stains left on Italy's soccer by the 2005/2006 match fixing scandal.


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