Group                                   : D with England, Uruguay and Costa RicaItaly

Current Fifa Ranking       : 7th with 1120 points

World Cup Appearances    : 1924, 1938, 1950, 1954, 1962, 1966, 1970, 1974, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010

Best Achievement            : Winners in 1934, 1938, 1986 and 2006, Runners Up in 1970 and 1994

Head Coach                           : Cesare Prandelli

Captain                                    : Gianluigi Buffon

Always a force to be reckoned with and often disregarded or underestimated, Italy have a knack of improving match after match during national tournaments, which is also a disadvantage as the Azzurri are known to start tournaments at a slow tempo. Being one of the first European teams to qualify for the tournament, they have regularly been tipped as a favourite along with Brazil, Spain and co.

Being drawn in a group which includes the likes of Uruguay, England and Costa Rica, you can rest assured that countless headaches are in wait for head coach Cesare Prandelli. With Uruguay considered as the most dangerous squad in the group along with Italy, they will make sure that progression to the knockouts won’t be a piece of cake for Italy. England, although often over-estimated, contain lots of individual talent which could scar any footballing nation, whilst Costa Rica, the group’s dark horses, should definitely not be ignored.

Apart from individual talent, they also showcase tremendous team spirit and balance, instilled by Prandelli and showcased during Euro 2012 as well as this tournament’s qualifiers. With experienced goalkeeping captain Gianluigi Buffon and magician Andrea Pirlo, the Juventus duo have regularly declared that this is probably their last World Cup, wanting to make their mark on footballing history once more after their 2006 success. AC Milan’s troublesome Mario Balotelli and Fiorentina’s Giuseppe Rossi combine a deadly attacking duo, backed up by the likes of Roma’s indomitable De Rossi and AC Milan duo Sharaawy and Montolivo, the amount of talent involved is for everyone to see. Juventus trio Barzagli, Chiellini and Bonucci form part of an already proven defence.

Prandelli has already stated that he shall resign following this summer’s tournament, meaning that he will do his utmost to make sure Italy reach the latter stages of the World Cup. One can easily see them progress past the quarter finals, yet reaching the final or winning the competition could be a step too far for them to reach. Nonetheless, as long as Italy makes it through this Cup’s group of death, one shouldn’t disregard their chances at a top four place.

Latest Betting Odds on Italy

                                                                                              1                        X                     2
14th June – England – Italy  – 23:00                               3.00                           3.10                  2.40
20th June – Italy – Costa Rica – 17:00                          1.32                            4.80                  10.00
24th June – Italy – Uruguay – 17:00                         2.30                           3.25                  3.10