It’s a tough enough job just suiting up to play against the best players in the world. The prestigious World Cup is not, however, for the faint of heart. The Italians, furthermore, consistently field a solid team and are almost always one of the crowd’s and a betting man’s favorites in the tournament.

They have proven time and time again that they can are more than able to take on the other great teams and hold their own. Yet, in 2002, they faced a challenge far beyond the man-to-man combat of football, one that left a black mark in the history of the Cup.

In 2002, the World Cup was played in South Korea. The Italian football team went sixteen rounds in that tournament before being defeated by the host country’s team on a series of bad calls that live in infamy. Only one goal was scored in that match and was credited to South Korea’s Ahn Jung-Hwan during the extra period.

The game and consequently the entire Cup was overshadowed by accusations of fraud and by conspiracy theories all stemming from the actions of the referee, Byron Moreno, whose seemingly blatant slant against the Italian squad sent them home in defeat.

During the game, the Italy football team scored time and again only to have their points annulled by Moreno. Then, to add insult to injury, the referee had the audacity to red card Francesco Totti for diving. The result of the game’s created mayhem among soccer fans, not only of Italy but worldwide, as well.

After the match, the Italian Coach, Giovanni Trapattoni, insinuated that there had been a conspiracy against the Italian team not only during that match with South Korea but throughout the entire tournament.

Replays of footage clearly show that four legitimate goals made by Italy were overruled by the referee. For many the match between Team Italy and Team South Korea in 2002 stand out as one of the worst moments in the Cup’s history.

The Italian team is going to walk the ground with pride and confidence as they are the defending champions of FIFA World Cup 2006. They are currently No. 4 in FIFA rankings.

Here is a quick peek into their team:

• Nickname: Azzurri or Squadra Azzurra

• Football Association: Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio

• Head Coach: Marcello Lippi

• Captain: Fabio Cannavaro is the man who is going to lead the defenders in FIFA World Cup 2010. Fabio has the most captaincies for the Italian team.

• Top scorer: Luigi Riva with 35 goals.

• Home kit color: Blue shirt and blue shorts

• Away kit color: White shirt with white shorts

• Playing in the World Cup since 1934

FIFA World Cup record

• Won FIFA World Cup: Italy claimed this title four times, just a number below Brazil.

• Total matches played in FIFA World Cup: 77

• Total games won: Italians won 44 games

• Games drawn: Italy drew 19 matches in all

• Games lost: Italy lost 14 games in all

• Goals scored: Italian team has scored 122 goals in the FIFA world cup.

Italy in FIFA WORLD CUP 2010

Italy is going to defend its champions title in this event. They are in Group F where they are going to play with Paraguay, New Zealand, and Slovakia.

Apart from two flops in 1930 and 1958, the Italy football team has always qualified for the world cup and in 2006, they made history by lifting the world cup and beating fantastic France in the finals of the world cup with the strategic game.

The team has always given the best football games to the world and won the game many times. Italy is a country where every normal life player plays the football team for at least two hours on Sunday Afternoon. They showed their capabilities in the 2006 world cup while they won the world cup even after the pressure of scandals that came into the picture just before the world cup.

The team will look to come with the game of full-throttle football because all the teams are looking to head down the defending champions. The team has to start performers like goalie Gianluigi Buffon, Andrea Pirlo, and Fabio Cannavaro.

The team has the young legs of Luca Toni, Daniele-De-Rossi, Andrea Barzagli, Manuele Blasi, Alberto Gilardino, Vincenzo Iaquinta, and Giorgio Chiellini that are emerging fast.

The team has a strong net defender Gianluigi Buffon who is regarded as one of the best goalies in the history of football who helped Italy to lift the world cup on his own when he saved an important header from Zidane and saved a lot at the net in a penalty shootout. Italy was a strong contender for the 2010 and 2014 world cups, but the team did not manage to win either of these world cups.

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