The Italian national football team played its first international match on 15 May 1920, defeating France 6-2 in Milan. The national team wear an all-blue home kit, which is why they are nicknamed the Azzurri (Blues).

 

Italy have competed in eighteen FIFA World Cup tournaments, and have been crowned World Champions on four occasions. Italy won the tournament as hosts in 1934 and retained the title four years later in France. Italy’s third World Cup crown came in 1982 in Spain. In 2006, Italy were once again crowned World Champions after beating France in a penalty shootout in the final in Berlin.

 

Italy have also finished as runners-up on two occasions and finished third when they hosted the tournament for a second time in 1990. Italy competed in their first European Championship in 1968, when they hosted the tournament and were crowned champions. The national team has since gone on to compete in seven more Championships, hosting the tournament in 1980 and finishing runners-up in 2000 and 2012.

 

The current coach of the national side is Antonio Conte, who replaced Cesare Prandelli in 2014. Notable managers of the side include Dino Zoff, Giovanni Trapattoni and Marcello Lippi, who guided the side to their 2006 World Cup win.

 

With over 140 caps to his name, goalkeeper and current captain Gianluigi Buffon holds the record for most appearances with the national team. Luigi Riva is the national team’s all-time leading goalscorer, with 35 goals in 42 caps. Giuseppe Meazza lies second on the list with 33.

 

Omar Sivori was the first Italian to win the coveted Ballon d’Or award, back in 1961. Since then, Gianni Rivera, Paolo Rossi, Roberto Baggio and Fabio Cannavaro have also won the award. Other notable Italian footballers include Paolo Maldini, Daniele De Rossi, Gianluca Zambrotta, Alessandro Del Piero, Alessandro Nesta, Gennaro Gatusso and Andrea Pirlo.

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