1. This is what Italy’s jerseys look like.
2. And these are Italy’s fans. The soccer team is known as the Azzurri, which refers to the team’s blue jerseys.
3. And this is how fans cheer for the Italian national team.
What is interesting about Gli Azzurri is because Italy is such a regional nation, the national team is one of the few unifying cultural elements that the ENTIRE country can get behind.
5. Historically, Italy has played a strong, team-oriented defensive style, nicknamed Catenaccio, meaning bolted door.
6. After Brazil, Italy is the most successful team in World Cup history. Gli Azzurri have won the title four times — in 1934, 1938, 1982, and 2006 — and also have finished as runner-up twice, in 1970 and 1994.
7. But in 2010, Italy pretty much shat the proverbial bed. The Italians failed to win a match — the first time the team didn’t win a game at World Cup finals — and the team finished last in their group.
8. More recently, Italy finished as runner-up to Spain in the 2012 European Championship, a tournament they won in 1968 and were also runner-up in 2000.
The Italian squad for this year’s World Cup is very, very good, but they also have some work to do.
9. This is Cesare Prandelli, Italy’s manager. Check out that flow.
Mandelli has been in charge since 2010, and since then he’s led the Azzurri to the 2012 European finals and third place in the 2013 Confederations Cup. Mandelli coached at Fiorentina, Florence’s club team, before coaching the Italians. He’s one of the team’s biggest strengths and one of the strongest managers in the world, having turned around the Italians after a rough patch. Instead of having a set formation, will make adjustments according to their opponents.
10. Italy is in Group D, with Uruguay, Costa Rica, and England.
It’s a tough group, to be sure.