Italy – World Cup 2014 – Betting
World Cup appearances: 17
Best World Cup: Champions; 1934, 1938, 1982, 2006
FIFA World Ranking: 8
Manager: Cesare Prandelli
Italy Team Profile
Where do we start with the Italians? They are one of the most efficient footballing nations on the planet and rarely will you see an Italian side stroll into the finals and leave with their tails between their legs. This will be their 18th showing in a World Cup, and while that will sound an incredibly high amount of turnouts, it isn’t the most as Brazil claim that honour, as they’ve appeared in every single World Cup, but the Italians are level in second place alongside the consistent Germans, which just goes to show how consistent a nation Italy are.
The pressure won’t be on them like it was four years ago when they rolled into South Africa as reigning champions. The thing about the Italians is that they are always unassuming, and even their squad takes on an unassuming look. It isn’t a squad which is littered with household names for many, but their style of play always seems to serve them well and they are tight unit. Their 23 man squad didn’t look all that great in 2006 and that didn’t stop them lifting the prestigious trophy aloft. That was their fourth World Cup success, their first in 24 years. How close they’ll get to making it five is a little tricky to call. They were solid enough through qualification and without really ever looking like they were in top gear, they topped their group unbeaten.
This time, though, the Italians don’t appear to have the strongest squad heading to Brazil 2014, but they have a very savvy manager at the helm, who has brought a great blend of youth and experience along with a great style back to the national side. There are touches of quality of course with Andrea Pirlo and Gianluigi Buffon the only remaining survivors from their success in 2006.
Cesare Prandelli deserves a lot of credit with the job that he has done with the Italians. He got them to the final of Euro 2012 remember and it is not only the solidity that he has brought to the national game, but is a fresher, bolding attacking approach which has come in. The Italian were always famed for their dull, happy to win by 1-0 performances, but there is a touch of swagger in Prandelli’s team. He took over the national job in 2010, his first international job. It has been a successful tenure for him and he is credited with restoring a lot of honour to the national side. Forward thinking and not afraid to have a go.
Italy Key Players
Gianluigi Buffon. The Juventus shot-stopper has remained as one of the world’s best goalkeepers for well over a decade now and his reliable displays between the sticks has earned him 100 caps for his country and has rarely missed a game an International level, much is his dominance in that position in Italy. He could spend half the game twiddling his thumbs when all of a sudden he will be called upon and nine times out of ten, Buffon delivers with a stunning save. There is no point listing his qualities as he has just about everything a keeper needs to be the very best; he’s quick, extremely agile, cool under pressure and a great defensive organiser.
Andrea Pirlo, the old maestro still keeps on going and he looks tireless no matter how much work he puts in. Actually he doesn’t do that much running, and Prandelli has created a special role for him, sitting deep in midfield and just pinging passes around. Still has the eye to split open a defence in the blink of an eye and there are many other nations in the World Cup who would love to have a Pirlo available to them. This will be his last appearance at the World Cup finals, and you will still see key performances from the veteran.
Cesare’s prodigy Mario Balotelli is going to be important to them. The forward is such a still young maverick talent and has the ability to be their big match winner. Italy really only have Guiseppe Rossi and Alberto Gilardino for goals beyond Balotelli. The former Manchester City man really still has to prove himself at the top level and there is going to be a big chance for him to shine here.
Pro’s / Con’s
Italy’s biggest asset and probably the only fear factor surrounding them is their immense consistency on the big stage. Time and time again the Italians spring a surprise by going further than anyone had previously anticipated before the tournament kicked-off, and this chanted life they live is one of the reasons why most nations will want to avoid the Italians when the knock-out stage of the competition comes around.
Our biggest concern with them is the overall age of their squad. There will be more than half-a-dozen 30+ years old players at the tournament representing Italy, and in a climate where the speed of the game has significantly increased, questions will be asked over whether an ageing Italian side can keep up with the pace of their opponents. However, they combat that so very well with incredible ball retention, it is when they have to chase matches that they may struggle a bit.
Italy Qualification for the World Cup
Italy won Group B in the European zone, a group which consisted of some really ordinary nations as well as some really poor nations, so it was no surprise that Italy did qualify as group winners, and pretty much cruised. Their main challengers for automatic qualification were Denmark and the Czech Republic, but none of them really came that close to troubling Italy’s dominance.
To their credit, Italy did remain unbeaten throughout qualifying, winning six of ten qualifiers, with the remaining four all finishing as draws. They scored 19 goals and conceded just the 9 in return, while Mario Balotelli finished the campaign as top goalscorer for his country, with a tally of five.
World Cup Potential – 4/5
High quality dark horses here. They are in a tough first group alongside England and Uruguay, which means that their outright winner odds are dangling attractively. The way they play the game means that they will conserve energy in matches under the hot Brazilian sun and that should get them far. If they scrap their way through their tough group stage then that should set them up so very well for the knockout stage. they don’t have the big firepower of the likes of Brazil and Argentina, but they have a lot of savvy and are going to be a tough side to break down. Would fully expect to see them around the quarter final stage, but that could hinge on them winning their group.
Italy World Cup Betting Odds
Italy to win the World Cup (Outright odds) – 28/1 William Hill
Before the World Cup the odds on Italy were 28/1
Italy World Cup 2014 Fixtures – Group D
|Sa 14th June||20.00||Uruguay v Costa Rica||1:3|
|Sa. 14th June||23.00||England v Italy||1:2|
|Th 19th June||20.00||England v Uruguay||1:2|
|Fr 20th June||17.00||Italy v Costa Rica||0:1|
|Tu 24th June||17.00||Italy v Uruguay||0:1|
|Tu 24th June||17.00||Costa Rica v England||0:0|
World Cup 2014 Group D Table