Team Preview: Italy

FIFA Ranking: 12

Euro history: Italy has had far more success at the World Cup than Euro. Although, they won the tournament in 1968 as the host country. Italy lost to Spain in the 2008 quarterfinals.

How they qualified: Italy won their qualifying group that featured Estonia, Serbia, Slovenia, Northern Ireland and Faroe Islands.

Group information and schedule: Italy is in Group C with Spain, Croatia and Ireland.  All games will be played in Poland.

June 10 vs. Spain in Gdnask

June 14 vs. Croatia in Poznan

June 18 vs. Ireland in Poznan

Early roster thoughts: Goalkeeper and captin Gianluigi Buffon is still one of the best in the world. Giorgio Chiellini is Italy’s top defender, but continues to battle an injury. Daniele De Rossi, Riccardo Montolivo and Andrea Pirlo must play well against the talented Spain and Croatia midfields. It will be interesting to see if Italy will risk playing Mario Balotelli. His is very skilled, but is a very strange player with a hot temper. Antonio Di Natale would be a safer option to start at forward after he had a great club season at Udinese.

How they will do: Italy must focus with a match fixing investigation going on in their country. The Azzurri won the World Cup in 2006 when their domestic league was in turmoil. If they can squeak out a positive result against Spain in the first match, then a lot of pressure will be taken off the players and coaches.

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