FIFA World Cup™ finals history
Italy are the joint-second most successful country in FIFA World Cup history. They have featured in the finals 18 times and lifted the Trophy on four occasions (1934, 1938, 1982 and 2006), on a par with Germany and behind only Brazil. La Nazionale and the Seleção are also the only two teams to have won consecutive editions of the competition. This notwithstanding, the Italians' last two campaigns have ended with a whimper in the group stage.
Two survivors from the side that tasted glory at Germany 2006, captain and custodian Gianluigi Buffon and midfield maestro Andrea Pirlo, remain stalwarts of the set-up. The defence is typically solid, while Marco Verratti's emergence has freshened up the middle of the park. The same cannot be said up front, where Mario Balotelli has failed to take his chances, Giuseppe Rossi has been ravaged by injuries and Stephan El Shaarawy has gone off the boil. Even with a recent injection of oriundi, the Azzurri continue to lack consistent international performers in attack.
Former international midfielder Antonio Conte took charge after guiding Juventus to three straight Serie A titles. Having picked up the pieces following the debacle at Brazil 2014, he is staying true to his reputation as a tough taskmaster while putting his faith in an enterprising 4-3-3 formation on the pitch.
6 - The number of World Cup Finals contested by Italy. Winners in 1934, 1938, 1982 and 2006, they fell at the last hurdle in 1970 and 1994. The 1930s was a particularly auspicious decade for the Squadra Azzurra, as they also claimed gold at the 1936 Olympics.
The former stars
Dino Zoff, Franco Baresi, Giacinto Facchetti, Paolo Maldini, Gianni Rivera, Sandro Mazzola, Roberto Baggio, Giuseppe Meazza, Silvio Piola, Luigi Riva, Paolo Rossi, Fabio Cannavaro