The Italian Men’s football side is one of the most popular and successful teams on the planet, and many people’s “second” team when it comes to supporters. And it’s not hard to see why – the Azzurri have always been known as a skilful side and are undoubtedly one of the most successful teams in general and in the history of the tournament. Italy has won 4 FIFA World Cup titles (1934, 1938, 1982 and 2006) and appeared in 2 other finals (1970 and 1994). Italy has also won 2 European Championships (1968, 2020) and appeared in 2 other Euro finals (2000, 2012).
Owing to this reputation and stature, it was shocking for fans when Italy failed to qualify for football’s greatest showpiece - the 2022 FIFA World Cup- after being defeated 1-0 in March 2022 by unheralded North Macedonia. After this shock result, it seemed that the Azzurri was playing like a shadow of its former self, and many questioned: what happened to Italian football?
Legends of the game
Besides their exploits as a team, Italian football has also produced some of the most legendary players of the game, including Dino Zoff (who holds the international football record for most time without conceding a goal at 1,142 minutes), Roberto Baggio, Paolo Maldini, Paolo Rossi (Golden Boot award at 1982 World Cup) and Gianluigi Buffon, to name a few.
Much like any sports team, Italian football has had its ups and downs in terms of form . However. much of Italy’s recent poor form could directly be linked to administration troubles within Italian football. At the heart of this malfeasance was top Italian club Juventus, which was embroiled in a scandal which resulted in the club’s entire board resigning in November 2022 following allegations of false accounting and market manipulation, which prompted a 15-point deduction by the Italian football federation. This wasn’t an isolated incident, however, as Juventus has been racked with financial difficulties for years, which has impeded their efforts to keep pace with other clubs domestically and abroad.
Turning things around
After this downturn period for Italian football, things seem to be looking up for the Azzurri. The national team has experienced better results in their qualification games for Euro 2024, while the Italian club teams have achieved good results in the Champions League. Milan, Napoli and Internazionale all reached the last 8 of the Champions League, and after the latest round of fixtures, it seems a strong possibility that Serie A will produce its first finalist in the competition since Real Madrid dismantled Juventus in Cardiff in 2017.
Make your Italian mark
With a turnaround in the works, now is the time to show your support for Italy by placing some bets on them at www.gbets.co.za. Good luck!