Italy European Championship Record
Runners-up: 2000, 2012
3rd place: 1988
4th place: 1980
Group stage: 1996, 2004
Did not qualify: 1964, 1972, 1976, 1984
Did not enter: 1960
Total: W13 D15 L5 33:25
Italy Euro 2016 Qualifying Record
W7 D3 L0 16:7
Italy Euro 2016 Group Fixtures
13th June @21:00 – Belgium vs Italy (Stade de Lyon, Lyon)
17th June @15:00 – Italy vs Sweden (Stadium Municipal, Toulouse)
22nd June @21:00 – Italy vs Rep of Ireland (Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Lille)
Road to Euro 2016
Antonio Conte was handed the reigns of the Italy national team after the disappointing exit from the 2014 World Cup, and he needed a while to rebuild the squad and get the Azzurri playing to their potential. As that usually happens, Italy did not exactly impress in the Euro 2016 qualifiers, but they made sure to win the first place in the group without any problems, ending the campaign unbeaten, with Croatia, Norway and Bulgaria trailing in their wake.
Only two comfortable wins were enough to suggest that Conte and his men will have to work hard if they want to come anywhere near the Euro 2016 trophy, and the former Juventus boss was one of those coaches that used more than 30 players in the qualifiers. Nobody could blame Conte for picking his players based on current form, but numerous changes to the playing style and starting XI did not exactly help the team gel, meaning the campaign could not be considered such a success.
Style of Play
Chances are that not even Antonio Conte himself knows what is his preferred formation, having changed quite a few systems during the Euro 2016 qualifiers, and that is not exactly the perfect scenario. Judging by the March qualifiers, the final games before the manager names his preliminary squad, Italy are almost certain to play with three at the back, with Juventus duo Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini set to start in front of Gianluigi Buffon if fit and third place up for grabs.
While using 3-5-2 formation in the qualifiers, Conte appears to be leaning towards 3-4-3 system at the moment, but he is also expected to play 4-3-3 at times. Regardless of the tactical scheme he decides on, Italy will not be taking too many risks at the tournament finals, as defensive solidity will be the first thing on their minds. The problem is that the likes of Bonucci and Chiellini appear to be past their prime, and the same obviously applies to Andrea Barzagli.
Advanced age of the back four would not be such a big issue if Antonio Conte wasn’t a fan of high pressing game when defending, but such an approach is likely to leave his back line quite exposed at times, especially since there are no world-class holding midfielders in the squad nowadays capable of covering for their mistakes.
The lack of creativity in midfield is another major cause for concern and with both Marco Verratti and Claudio Marchisio missing, the Azzurri will have to rely on alternative ways of hurting the opposition. Chances are that Italy will be quite happy to allow their opponents to dominate games, hoping to launch swift counter-attacks and do some damage with a direct style of play, but the reality is this side is simply not good enough to turn Conte’s ideas into reality.
Considering that the manager wants his players to press high and adopt aggressive approach in an attempt to quickly win back lost possession, Italy are in desperate need of young and athletic footballers capable of covering a lot of ground in ninety minutes, and the reality is there are not too many of those in the current squad, so everything suggests this will be another disappointing tournament for the Azzurri.
- Masters of grinding out results
- Experienced back line
- Good record at major tournaments
- Strong domestic championship
- World-class head coach
- Poor creative department
- Ageing defence
- Very few high-quality footballers
- No established formation
- Numerous changes to the side
Italy Euro 2016 Starting Line-Up
Missing: Claudio Marchisio (injury), Marco Verratti (injury), Mattia Perin (injury)
It is not difficult to see that this is one of the worst generations in the history of the Italian national team and Antonio Conte’s strange selection choices since taking over the reigns did not to help the Azzurri prepare for what awaits them in France. The reality is that Italy have problems in all areas of the pitch, the players are not suited for the manager’s preferred style of play, while numerous changes to the starting line-up prevented the players from bonding together, meaning the Azzurri are now a group of quality individuals rather than a well-oiled machine.
Antonio Conte does not have a natural goalscorer in the squad, the lack of creativity in midfield is seriously affecting team’s performances, while it is easy to see that even Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini, usually impressive when playing for Juventus, tend to struggle in the national team. Italy have been placed in a pretty evenly matched group, so we will put ourselves on the line here and predict the Azzurri to crash out in the group stage yet again.
IST Tip: Italy to be eliminated in group stage
Odds: 4.50 (7/2) @BetVictor
Italy Euro 2016 Squad:
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Federico Marchetti (Lazio), Salvatore Sirigu (Paris St-Germain);
Defenders: Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Angelo Ogbonna (West Ham);
Midfielders: Federico Bernardeschi (Fiorentina), Antonio Candreva (Lazio), Matteo Darmian (Manchester United), Daniele de Rossi (Roma), Mattia de Sciglio (AC Milan), Stephan El Shaarawy (Roma), Alessandro Florenzi (Roma), Emanuele Giaccherini (Bologna), Thiago Motta (Paris St-Germain), Marco Parolo (Lazio), Stefano Sturaro (Juventus);
Forwards: Eder (Sampdoria), Ciro Immobile (Torino), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Graziano Pelle (Southampton), Simone Zaza (Juventus).
Last updated: 5th June 2016