Road to Colombia
After entering UEFA qualifying in the main round, Italy scraped top spot in their group. They followed up a 6-1 thrashing of Macedonia with a 3-1 victory over Moldova, but in their third game they succumbed 2-1 to Slovakia, whom they only pipped to first place on goal difference. Nevertheless, they had no trouble dispatching Hungary in the play-off round, breezing to a 9-0 aggregate win.
Strengths and style
Roberto Menichelli has been in charge of his country's national team – for whom he played at Hong Kong 1992 – for seven years and guided them to third place at Thailand 2012. In Colombia he will be able to call on a squad brimming with experience and talent in every department, headed by Stefano Mammarella and Rodolfo Fortino, respectively the adidas Golden Glove and adidas Silver Boot winners four years ago. Other key figures include captain Gabriel Lima, Sergio Romano and Alessandro Patias.
FIFA Futsal World Cup record
Italy are undoubtedly one of the major forces in the sport. Their feat of having starred in seven of the eight Futsal World Cups is only bettered in Europe by two-time champions Spain. The Azzurri failed to make much of a splash in the first three editions, despite reaching the second round at Netherlands 1989 and Spain 1996, while they did not even qualify for Guatemala 2000. Since that disappointment, however, they have been ever-present on the podium: they were runners-up at Chinese Taipei 2004, before taking bronze at Brazil 2008 and Thailand 2012 alike.