Italy Euro 2012 Squad Profile
Andrea Pirlo still pulls the strings for Italy in midfield. Valerio Pennicino / Getty Images
Italy’s threat at this year’s European Championships is encapsulated by the fact they managed to qualify for Euro 2012 without losing a single game.
Although they posses a talented and skillful squad, their chances hinge on consistency and defensive capabilities. Their qualification campaign saw them only concede two goals in ten games and they will be hoping to prove they can keep out some of the world’s best sides in Poland and Ukraine.
Antonio Cassano 's fitness will be key to Italy’s success after he bagged six goals in the qualification stage. If the Milan striker fails to fully recover from recent health issues or is fit enough but cannot replicate his earlier form, Italy could be left with a massive goal-scoring void to fill.
Italy’s reputation precedes them and after failing to get out of the World Cup 2010 Group Stage, fans will be expectant this summer. If they can form an attacking system that replicates the effectiveness of their defense, then it is not beyond them to mount a real challenge for the European Championship.
- Best World Cup Result: Winners (1934, 1938, 1882, 2006)
- Best European Championship Result: Winners (1968)
- Record Scorer: Luigi Riva (35 goals from 1965-1974)
- Most Capped Player: Fabio Cannavaro (136 caps from 1997-2010)
- Coach: Cesare Prandelli
- Captain: Gianluigi Buffon
23-man Italy Euro 2012 Squad:
Goalkeepers: Buffon (Juventus), De Sanctis (Napoli), Sirigu (Paris St. Germain).
Defenders: Abate (AC Milan), Balzaretti (Palermo), Barzagli (Juventus), Bonucci (Juventus), Chiellini (Juventus), Maggio (Napoli), Ogbonna (Torino).
Midfielders: De Rossi (Roma), Diamanti (Bologna), Giaccherini (Juventus), Marchisio (Juventus), Montolivo (Fiorentina), Motta (Paris St Germain), Nocerino (AC Milan), Pirlo (Juventus).
Forwards: Balotelli (Manchester City), Borini (Roma), Cassano (Milan), Di Natale (Udinese), Giovinco (Parma).
The Coach: Cesare Prandelli
Prandelli’s attacking brand of football will surprise many fans expecting Italy’s usual defensive displays. The former Fiorentina, Roma and Parma boss will be hoping Cassano is fit enough for his attacking plan to come to fruition. Prandelli succeeded World Cup winПing coach Marcello Lippi and has since replaced the Italian old guard with a younger, less experienced side.
Player to Watch: Fabio Borini
Although the squad has a handful of star names like Balotelli, Pirlo and Montolivio, Borini has hit top form at just the right time and could cause real problems for defences in Poland and Ukraine. The former Chelsea youngster will be hoping to make his mark in an Italian side that are desperate for a natural goal-scorer.
Sunday, June 10, 2012 v Spain (18:00 CET in Gdansk)
Thursday, June 14, 2012 v Croatia (18:00 CET in Poznan)