A Short Guide to Italy's National Football Team and the Euros 2021

Fri, 07/02/2021 - 07:49
Italian soccer fans

As the Euro 2020/2021 enters the quarterfinals, we take a look at the most common questions about Italy's national football team and this year's European championships. 

What’s the Italian word for soccer/football?

The Italian word for soccer is calcio

Why is the Italian team known as ‘gli azzurri’? 

The Italian soccer team is known as ‘the blues’ (or gli azzurri) because of the color of their shirts, which is a Savoy blue, from the color of the House of Savoy, which reigned over the kingdom of Italy from 1861 to 1946. Bear in mind that when the Italy national team debuted it was 1910, so the House of Savoy was still ruling then (at the very first game the Italian team actually wore a white jersey because an official color hadn’t been picked yet).

How many times did Italy win the World Cup? 

Italy is one of the most successful national teams in the history of the World Cup - it won four titles - in 1934, 1938, 1982 and 2006; in addition, it also reached the finals in 1970 and 1994. 

Who is the best Italian soccer player of all time?  

Hard to pick just one, and you always have to be careful with absolute statements, especially when it comes to pasta and soccer in Italy. Some recurring names among Italy’s best soccer players of all time include Sandro Mazzola, Gigi Riva, Giuseppe Meazza, Dino Zoff (keeper), Paolo Rossi, Roberto Baggio, Gianluigi Buffon (keeper), Alessandro del Piero, Francesco Totti.  

Which Italian soccer team is the best? 

Better not to get into this one either. But if we go by Serie A (the top professional league competition) championship wins, Juventus comes first, followed by Inter and Milan.  

Can Italy win the UEFA European Championships 2020-2021?

If you ask Italy’s coach Roberto Mancini, yes, they can. And the team is playing well, after some rather disappointing performances in recent years. So far in the Euros championship, it has scored seven goals, and received none. Italy is currently one of the favorites to win the Euros, along with some other big teams, like long-time rival Spain (some former favorites like world champion France and Germany are out); England is also a favorite, as well as Belgium, which plays against Italy on Friday, July 2.   

[The European Championship was postponed from 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic; matches began on 11 June, and the final is scheduled on 11 July, 2021.]

How can I watch the Euros 2021 matches in the USA? And in the UK? 

ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 in the USA will broadcast all 51 matches. BBC and ITV will broadcast the matches. 

If you’re in Italy, you can watch the ‘partite’ on Rai Uno.