|Euro 2024||06/15 19:00||1||Italy vs Albania||-||View|
|Euro 2020||06/20 19:00||2||Spain vs Italy||-||View|
|Euro 2020||06/24 19:00||3||Croatia vs Italy||-||View|
|Euro 2024 Qualifying||11/20 19:45||10|| Ukraine v Italy ||D||0-0|
|Euro 2024 Qualifying||11/17 19:45||9|| Italy v North Macedonia ||W||5-2|
|Euro 2024 Qualifying||10/17 18:45||8|| England v Italy ||L||3-1|
|Euro 2024 Qualifying||10/14 18:45||7|| Italy v Malta ||W||4-0|
|Euro 2024 Qualifying||09/12 18:45||6|| Italy v Ukraine ||W||2-1|
|Euro 2024 Qualifying||09/09 18:45||5|| North Macedonia v Italy ||D||1-1|
|UEFA Nations League||06/18 13:00||50||Netherlands v Italy||W||2-3|
|UEFA Nations League||06/15 18:45||2||Spain v Italy||L||2-1|
|Euro 2024 Qualifying||03/26 18:45||2|| Malta v Italy ||W||0-2|
|Euro 2024 Qualifying||03/23 19:45||1||Italy v England||L||1-2|
|International Match||11/20 19:45||-||Austria v Italy||L||2-0|
|International Match||11/16 19:45||-||Albania v Italy||W||1-3|
|Failed to score||1||0||1|
The Italy national football team (Italian: Nazionale di calcio dell'Italia) has represented Italy in men's international football since its first match in 1910. The national team is controlled by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC), the governing body for football in Italy, which is a co-founder and member of UEFA. Italy's home matches are played at various stadiums throughout Italy, and its primary training ground and technical headquarters, Centro Tecnico Federale di Coverciano, is located in Florence. Italy are the reigning European champions, having won UEFA Euro 2020.
Italy is one of the most successful national teams in the history of football and the World Cup, having won four titles (1934, 1938, 1982, 2006), appearing in two other finals (1970, 1994), and reaching also a third (1990) and a fourth (1978) place. Italy also won two European Championships (1968, 2020), and appeared in two other finals of the tournament (2000, 2012). Italy's team also achieved a second place at the CONMEBOL–UEFA Cup of Champions in 2022, and a third place at the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2013 and at the UEFA Nations League in 2021 and 2023.
The team is known as gli Azzurri (the Blues), because Savoy blue is the common colour of the national teams representing Italy, as it is the traditional paint of the royal House of Savoy, which reigned over the Kingdom of Italy. In 1938, Italy became the first team to defend its World Cup title, and due to the outbreak of World War II, retained the title for a further 12 years. Italy had also previously won two Central European International Cups (1927–30, 1933–35). Between its first two World Cup victories, Italy won the Olympic football tournament (1936). After the majority of the team was killed in a plane crash in 1949, Italy obtained poor results in the 1950s, even failing to qualify for the 1958 World Cup. Failure to qualify for the World Cup did not happen again until the consecutive editions of 2018 and 2022. However, the team was unbeaten from October 2018 to October 2021, and holds the world record for most consecutive matches without defeat (37).
Italy has notable rivalries with other footballing nations, such as Brazil, France, Germany and Spain. In the FIFA World Rankings, in force since August 1993, Italy has occupied the first place several times, in November 1993 and during 2007 (February, April–June, September), with its worst placement in August 2018 in 21st place.
An early attempt to create an Italian national team occurred on 30 April 1899, when an Italian selection played a Swiss eleven, losing 0–2 in Torino. The team's first official match was held in Milan on 15 May 1910. Italy defeated France by a score of 6–2, with Italy's first goal scored by Pietro Lana. The Italian team played with a (2–3–5) system and consisted of: De Simoni; Varisco, Calì; Trerè, Fossati, Capello; Debernardi, Rizzi, Cevenini I, Lana, Boiocchi. The first captain of the team was Francesco Calì.
The first success in an official tournament came with the bronze medal in 1928 Summer Olympics, held in Amsterdam. After losing the semi-final against Uruguay, an 11–3 victory against Egypt secured third place in the competition. In the 1927–30 and 1933–35 Central European International Cup, Italy achieved the first place out of five Central European teams, topping the group with 11 points in both editions of the tournament. Italy would also later win the gold medal at the 1936 Summer Olympics with a 2–1 victory in extra time in the gold medal match over Austria on 15 August 1936.
After declining to participate in the inaugural World Cup (1930, in Uruguay) the Italy national team won two consecutive editions of the tournament in 1934 and 1938, under the direction of coach Vittorio Pozzo and the performance of Giuseppe Meazza, who is considered one of the best Italian football players of all time by some. Italy hosted the 1934 World Cup, and played their first ever World Cup match in a 7–1 win over the United States in Rome. Italy defeated Czechoslovakia 2–1 in extra time in the final in Rome, with goals by Raimundo Orsi and Angelo Schiavio to achieve their first World cup title in 1934. They achieved their second title in 1938 in a 4–2 defeat of Hungary, with two goals by Gino Colaussi and two goals by Silvio Piola in the World Cup that followed. Rumour has it, before the 1938 finals fascist Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini was to have sent a telegram to the team, saying "Vincere o morire!" (literally translated as "Win or die!"). However, no record remains of such a telegram, and World Cup player Pietro Rava said when interviewed: "No, no, no, that's not true. He sent a telegram wishing us well, but no never 'win or die.'"
In 1949, 10 of the 11 players in the team's initial line-up were killed in a plane crash that affected Torino, winners of the previous five Serie A titles. Italy did not advance further than the first round of the 1950 World Cup, as they were weakened severely due to the air disaster. The team had travelled by boat rather than by plane, fearing another accident.
In the World Cup finals of 1954 and 1962, Italy failed to progress past the first round, and did not qualify for the 1958 World Cup due to a 2–1 defeat to Northern Ireland in the last match of the qualifying round. Italy did not take part in the first edition of the European Championship in 1960 (then known as the European Nations Cup), and was knocked out by the Soviet Union in the first round of the 1964 European Nations' Cup qualifying.
Their participation in the 1966 World Cup was ended by a 0–1 defeat at the hands of North Korea. Despite being the tournament favourites, the Azzurri, whose 1966 squad included Gianni Rivera and Giacomo Bulgarelli, were eliminated in the first round by the semi-professional North Koreans. The Italian team was bitterly condemned upon their return home, while North Korean scorer Pak Doo-ik was celebrated as the David who killed Goliath. Upon Italy's return home, furious fans threw fruit and rotten tomatoes at their transport bus at the airport.
In 1968, Italy participated in their first European Championship, hosting the European Championship and winning their first major competition since the 1938 World Cup, beating Yugoslavia in Rome for the title. The match is the only European Championship or World Cup final to go to a replay. After extra time the final ended in a 1–1 draw, and in the days before penalty shootouts, the rules required the match to be replayed a few days later. Italy won the replay 2–0 (with goals from Gigi Riva and Pietro Anastasi) to take the trophy. The semi-final was won on a coin toss.
In the 1970 World Cup, exploiting the performances of European champions' players like Giacinto Facchetti, Gianni Rivera and Gigi Riva and with a new centre-forward Roberto Boninsegna, the team were able to come back to a World Cup final match after 32 years. They reached this result after one of the most famous matches in football history—the "Game of the Century", the 1970 World Cup semifinal between Italy and West Germany that Italy won 4–3 in extra time, with five of the seven goals coming in extra time. They were later defeated by Brazil in the final 4–1.
The cycle of international successes ended at the 1974 World Cup, where the team was eliminated in the group stage after a 2–1 loss against Poland in the last match of the group.
In the 1978 FIFA World Cup in Argentina, a new generation of Italian players, the most famous being Paolo Rossi, came to the international stage. Italy was the only team in the tournament to beat the eventual champions and host team Argentina. Second-round games against West Germany (0–0), Austria (1–0) and Netherlands (1–2) led Italy to the third-place final, where the team was defeated by Brazil 2–1. In the match that eliminated Italy from the tournament against the Netherlands, Italian goalkeeper Dino Zoff was beaten by a long-distance shot from Arie Haan, and Zoff was criticized for the defeat. Italy hosted the 1980 UEFA European Football Championship, the first edition to be held between eight teams instead of four, automatically qualifying for the finals as hosts. After two draws with Spain and Belgium and a narrow 1–0 win over England, Italy were beaten by Czechoslovakia in the third-place match on penalties 9–8 after Fulvio Collovati missed his kick.
After a scandal in Serie A where some National team players such as Paolo Rossi were prosecuted and suspended for match fixing and illegal betting, the Azzurri qualified for the second round of the 1982 World Cup after three uninspiring draws against Poland, Peru and Cameroon. Having been loudly criticized, the Italian team decided on a press black-out from then on, with only coach Enzo Bearzot and captain Dino Zoff appointed to speak to the press. Italy's regrouped in the second round group, a group of death with Argentina and Brazil. In the opener, Italy prevailed 2–1 over Argentina, with Italy's goals, both left-footed strikes, were scored by Marco Tardelli and Antonio Cabrini. After Brazil defeated Argentina 3–1, Italy needed to win in order to advance to the semi-finals. Twice Italy went in the lead with Paolo Rossi's goals, and twice Brazil came back. When Falcão scored to make it 2–2, Brazil would have been through on goal difference, but in the 74th minute Rossi scored the winning goal, for a hat-trick, in a crowded penalty area to send Italy to the semifinals after one of the greatest games in World Cup history.
Italy then progressed to the semi-final where they defeated Poland with two goals from Rossi. In the final, Italy met West Germany, who had advanced by a penalty shootout victory against France. The first half ended scoreless, after Antonio Cabrini missed a penalty awarded for a Hans-Peter Briegel foul on Bruno Conti. In the second half Paolo Rossi again scored the first goal, and while the Germans were pushing forward in search of an equaliser, Marco Tardelli and substitute Alessandro Altobelli finalised two counterattacks to make it 3–0. Paul Breitner scored home West Germany's consolation goal seven minutes from the end.
Tardelli's cry "Gol! Gol!" was one of the defining images of Italy's 1982 World Cup triumph. Paolo Rossi won the Golden Boot with six goals as well as the Golden Ball Award for the best player of the tournament, and 40-year-old captain-goalkeeper Dino Zoff became the oldest player to win the World Cup. However, Italy failed to qualify for the 1984 European Championship. Italy then entered as reigning champions in the 1986 World Cup but were eliminated by reigning European Champions, France, in the round of 16.
In 1986, Azeglio Vicini was appointed as new head coach, replacing Bearzot. New coach conceded a chance to young players, such as Ciro Ferrara and Gianluca Vialli: Sampdoria striker scored goals that gave Italy 1988 European Championship pass. He was also shown like Altobelli's possibly successor, having his same goal attitude. Both forwards stroke the target in Germany, where Soviet Union defeated the Azzurri in semi-finals.
Italy hosted the World Cup for the second time in 1990. The Italian attack featured talented forwards Salvatore Schillaci and a young Roberto Baggio. Italy played nearly all of their matches in Rome and did not concede a single goal in their first five matches; however, they lost the semi-final in Naples to defending champion Argentina. Argentinian player Maradona, who played for Napoli, made comments prior to the game pertaining to the North–South inequality in Italy and the risorgimento, asking Neapolitans to root for Argentina in the game. Italy lost 4–3 on penalty kicks following a 1–1 draw after extra time. Schillaci's first-half opener was equalised in the second half by Claudio Caniggia's header for Argentina. Aldo Serena missed the final penalty kick with Roberto Donadoni also having his penalty saved by goalkeeper Sergio Goycochea. Italy went on to defeat England 2–1 in the third-place match in Bari, with Schillaci scoring the winning goal on a penalty to become the tournament's top scorer with six goals. Italy then failed to qualify for the 1992 European Championship. In November 1993, FIFA ranked Italy first in the FIFA World Rankings for their first time since the ranking system was introduced in December 1992.
At the 1994 World Cup in the United States, Italy lost the opening match against Ireland 0–1 at the Giants Stadium near New York City. After a 1–0 win against Norway in New York City and a 1–1 draw with Mexico at the RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., Italy advanced from Group E based on goals scored among the four teams tied on points. During their round of 16 match at the Foxboro Stadium near Boston, Italy was down 0–1 late against Nigeria, but Baggio rescued Italy with an equaliser in the 88th minute and a penalty in extra time to take the win. Baggio scored another late goal against Spain at their quarter-final match in Boston to seal a 2–1 win and two goals against Bulgaria in their semi-final match in New York City for another 2–1 win.
In the final, which took place in Los Angeles's Rose Bowl stadium 2,700 miles (4,320 km) and three time zones away from the Atlantic Northeast part of the United States where they had played all their previous matches, Italy, who had 24 hours less rest than Brazil, played 120 minutes of scoreless football, taking the match to a penalty shootout, the first time a World Cup final was settled in a penalty shootout. Italy lost the subsequent shootout 3–2 after Baggio, who had been playing with the aid of a pain-killer injection and a heavily bandaged hamstring, missed the final penalty kick of the match, shooting over the crossbar.
After qualifying for Euro 1996 on level points with Croatia, Italy did not progress beyond the group stage at the final tournament. Having defeated Russia 2–1 but losing to the Czech Republic by the same score, Italy required a victory in their final group match to progress to the quarter-finals. Gianfranco Zola failed to convert a decisive penalty in a 0–0 draw against Germany, who eventually won the tournament.
Relegated to second place behind England in the qualification campaign for the 1998 World Cup, Italy booked a place at the final tournament after defeating Russia in a play-off, with Pierluigi Casiraghi scoring the winning goal in a 2–1 aggregate victory on 15 November 1997. After finishing first in their group and overcoming Norway in the second round, Italy faced a penalty shootout in the quarterfinals, for the third World Cup in a row. The Italian side, where Alessandro Del Piero and Baggio renewed the controversial staffetta ("relay") between Mazzola and Rivera from 1970, held the eventual World Champions and host team, France, to a 0–0 draw after extra time, but lost 4–3 in the shootout. With two goals scored in this tournament, Baggio remains the only Italian player to have scored in three different FIFA World Cup editions.
Two years later, Italy faced another penalty shootout Euro 2000 but emerged victorious over the co-hosts, the Netherlands in the semifinal. Italian goalkeeper Francesco Toldo saving one penalty during the match and two in the shootout, while the Dutch players missed one other penalty during the match and one during the shootout with a rate of one penalty scored out of six attempts. Striker Francesco Totti scored his penalty with a cucchiaio ("spoon") chip. Italy finished the tournament as runners-up, losing the final 2–1 against France (to a golden goal in extra time) after conceding an equalising goal just 30 seconds before the expected end of injury time. After the defeat, coach Dino Zoff resigned in protest after being criticized by AC Milan club president and politician Silvio Berlusconi.
Giovanni Trapattoni took charge of the team in July 2000 following the resignation of Dino Zoff. Playing in Group 8 of the 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification process, Italy finished undefeated after facing Romania, Georgia, Hungary and Lithuania. In the final tournament, a 2–0 victory against Ecuador with a double from Christian Vieri was followed by a series of controversial matches. During the match against Croatia, English referee Graham Poll disallowed two goals resulting in a 2–1 defeat for Italy. Despite two goals being ruled for offsides, a late headed goal from Alessandro Del Piero helped Italy to a 1–1 draw with Mexico, proving enough to advance to the knockout stages.
Co-host country South Korea eliminated Italy in the round of 16 by a score of 2–1. The match proved controversial with members of the Italian team, most notably striker Francesco Totti and coach Giovanni Trapattoni, suggesting a conspiracy to eliminate Italy from the competition. Trapattoni even obliquely accused FIFA of ordering the official to ensure a Korean victory so that one of the two host nations would remain in the tournament. The most contentious decisions by the game referee Byron Moreno were an early penalty awarded to South Korea (saved by Buffon), a golden goal by Damiano Tommasi ruled offside, and the sending off of Totti after being presented with a second yellow card for an alleged dive in the penalty area. FIFA President Sepp Blatter stated that the linesmen had been a "disaster" and admitted that Italy suffered from bad offside calls during the group matches, but he denied conspiracy allegations. While questioning Totti's sending off by Moreno, Blatter refused to blame Italy's loss entirely on the referees, stating: "Italy's elimination is not only down to referees and linesmen who made human not premeditated errors. Italy made mistakes both in defense and in attack."
Trapattoni stayed on to coach Italy for UEFA Euro 2004 in Portugal. He guided the team to a first-place finish in Group 9 overcoming Wales, Serbia and Montenegro, Finland and Azerbaijan. With draws against Denmark and Sweden along with a victory over Bulgaria in Group C, Italy were eliminated following a three-way five point tie based on the number of goals scored in matches among the tied teams. Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and then Italian football federation president Franco Carraro accused the Swedish and Danish teams of fixing the result. Despite calls, then-UEFA spokesperson Robert Faulkner said the organization would not investigate the result.
After initially refusing to resign following Italy's elimination from the tournament, the Italian Football Federation replaced Trapattoni with Marcello Lippi.
With controversy plaguing the domestic league, Italy entered the final tournament as one of the eight seeded teams. Italy finished first in Group E with wins against Ghana and the Czech Republic and a draw with the United States.
In the round of 16, Italy secured a 1–0 victory over Australia with Francesco Totti scoring a penalty. Italy overcame Ukraine, 3–0, after taking an early lead through Gianluca Zambrotta and additional goals coming from Luca Toni. In the semi-finals, Italy beat hosts Germany 2–0 with goals Fabio Grosso and Alessandro Del Piero in the last minutes of extra time.
The Azzurri won their fourth World Cup title after defeating France in the final. French captain Zinedine Zidane opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the seventh minute before Materazzi scored from a corner kick, twelve minutes later. The score remained level and though extra-time and Zidane was sent off for headbutting Materazzi. Italy went on to win the penalty shootout 5–3, with all Italian players scoring their kicks.
FIFA named seven Italian players — Gianluigi Buffon, Fabio Cannavaro, Gianluca Zambrotta, Andrea Pirlo, Gennaro Gattuso, Francesco Totti and Luca Toni — to the 23-man tournament All Star Team. Buffon also won the Lev Yashin Award, given to the best goalkeeper of the tournament; he conceded only two goals in the tournament's seven matches, the first an own goal by Zaccardo and the second from Zidane's penalty kick in the final, and remained unbeaten for 460 consecutive minutes. In honour of Italy winning a fourth FIFA World Cup, members of the squad were awarded the Italian Order of Merit of Cavaliere.
Marcello Lippi, who had announced his resignation three days after the World Cup triumph, was replaced by Roberto Donadoni. Italy qualified from their Euro 2008 qualifying group ahead of France. On 14 February 2007, Italy climbed to first in the FIFA World Rankings for only the second time.
At Euro 2008, the Azzurri lost 3–0 to the Netherlands in the opening match of the group stage. The following game against Romania ended 1–1 thanks to a penalty save from Gianluigi Buffon. Italy would win their final group game against France 2–0, a rematch of the 2006 World Cup final. The Azzurri were eliminated in the quarter-finals on penalties to eventual champions Spain. Within a week of the game, Roberto Donadoni's contract was terminated and Marcello Lippi was rehired as coach.
Italy qualified for their first ever FIFA Confederations Cup held in South Africa in June 2009 by virtue of winning the 2006 World Cup. They won their opening match of the tournament against the United States, but subsequent defeats to Egypt and Brazil meant that they finished third in the group on goals scored, and were eliminated.
At the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, reigning champions Italy were unexpectedly eliminated in the first round, finishing last place in their group. After being held to 1–1 draws with Paraguay and New Zealand, they suffered a 3–2 loss to Slovakia. It was the first time Italy failed to win a single game at a World Cup finals tournament, and in doing so became only the third nation to be eliminated in the first round while being reigning World Cup champions.
Marcello Lippi stepped down after Italy's World Cup campaign and was replaced by Cesare Prandelli, although Lippi's successor had already been announced before the tournament.
At UEFA Euro 2012, Italy finished second in their group behind Spain, which earned them a quarter-final tie against England. After a mostly one-sided affair in which Italy failed to take their chances, they managed to beat England on penalties. In the semi-final against Germany, two first-half goals by Mario Balotelli saw the Italians through to the final. In the final, Italy fell to a 4–0 defeat to Spain.
During the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil, Italy reached the semi-finals, losing 7–6 on penalties to Spain. Italy did manage to beat Uruguay in the third place play-off. At the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Italy managed to defeat England 2–1 in their first match before succumbing to underdogs Costa Rica 1–0 in the second group stage match. In Italy's last group match, they were knocked out by Uruguay 1–0, in a controversial match. Shortly after this loss, coach Cesare Prandelli resigned.
Former Juventus manager Antonio Conte was selected to replace Cesare Prandelli as coach after the 2014 World Cup. On 10 October 2015, Italy qualified for Euro 2016, courtesy of a 3–1 win over Azerbaijan; the result meant that Italy had gone 50 games unbeaten in European qualifiers.
On 4 April 2016, it was announced that Antonio Conte would step down as Italy coach after Euro 2016 to become head coach of Chelsea. The 23-man squad was initially criticised by many fans and members of the media for its lack of quality, which saw notable absences such as Andrea Pirlo and Sebastian Giovinco being controversially left out. Italy opened Euro 2016 with a 2–0 victory over Belgium and qualified thanks to a win against Sweden in the second match. Italy subsequently defeated reigning European champions Spain 2–0 in the round of 16. However, Italy were defeated by reigning World champions Germany, in the quarter-finals on penalties.
After Conte's planned departure following Euro 2016, Gian Piero Ventura took over as manager for the team. During qualification for the 2018 World Cup, Italy finished second in Group G, five points behind Spain. Italy would have to compete in the play-off round against Sweden. However, Italy would lose 1–0 on aggregate to Sweden and were therefore eliminated; the first time that Italy had failed to qualify for the World Cup since 1958. Following the match, veterans Andrea Barzagli, Daniele De Rossi and captain Gianluigi Buffon all declared their retirement from the national team. On 15 November 2017, Ventura was dismissed as head coach, and on 20 November 2017, Carlo Tavecchio resigned as president of the Italian Football Federation.
On 14 May 2018, Roberto Mancini was announced as the new manager. On 16 August 2018, in the FIFA World Ranking that followed the 2018 World Cup, Italy dropped to their lowest ever ranking of 21st.
On 18 November, Italy finished Group J with ten wins in all ten matches, qualifying for the final tournament and becoming only the sixth national side to qualify for a European Championship with a perfect record. On 17 March 2020, UEFA confirmed that Euro 2020 would be postponed by one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the delayed Euro 2020, Italy finished top of Group A, ahead of Turkey, Switzerland, and Wales. Being one of the host nations, Italy played all three group games at home at Rome's Stadio Olimpico. Italy became the first team in European Championship history to win each group stage match without conceding. In the round of 16, Italy defeated Austria at Wembley Stadium after extra time. In the quarter-finals, Italy overcame Belgium before beating Spain on penalties in the semi-finals.
On 11 July 2021, Italy won the European Championships on penalties, their first European Championship title since 1968. Italy defeated hosts England at Wembley Stadium on penalties after a 1–1 draw. On 16 July, all members of the European Championship-winning squad were awarded the Italian Order of Merit of Cavaliere.
In October 2021, Italy participated in the UEFA Nations League Finals as hosts. However, Italy lost the semi-final against Spain, 2–1 at the San Siro. This match meant the end of the record 37 game unbeaten run and the first defeat for Italy in more than 3 years. Four days later, Italy won the third-place play-off, 2–1 against Belgium. On 15 November 2021, Italy drew 0–0 with Northern Ireland in their final 2022 World Cup qualifying Group C match and finished in second place, two points behind Switzerland. On 24 March 2022, Italy lost 1–0 in the semi-final of the play-offs against North Macedonia, therefore, failing to qualify for the World Cup for a second consecutive time.
On 1 June 2022, Italy took part in the CONMEBOL–UEFA Cup of Champions match, rebranded as the 2022 Finalissima, losing 3–0 against Argentina. On 26 September, Italy qualified to the 2023 UEFA Nations League Finals after beating Hungary 2–0 in Budapest. On 15 June 2023, Italy played the semi-final against Spain, losing 2–1. Three days later, Italy won the third-place final 3–2 against the Netherlands. Mancini's stay on Italy's bench ended a few months later following his resignation, with Luciano Spalletti being chosen in his place.