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Zaza and Immobile impress

Italy Sep 8, 2014
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Horncastle: Italy roll dice on Conte

Italy Aug 15, 2014
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Rodriguez lost control in Italy-Uruguay

World Cup Central Jun 25, 2014
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World Cup firsts abound on Matchday 13

Five Aside Jun 24, 2014
Read
Sep 8, 2014

Zaza and Immobile offer Conte's Italy some forward potential

Antonio Conte debuts as Italy coach with a 2-0 win in a friendly match against the Netherlands.

Reflecting on Italy's 2-0 win over the Netherlands last week, the staff at the Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper identified a noteworthy trend. Of the 17 players used in Bari by new manager Antonio Conte, 13 had worn beards.

"An Italy of Barbudos," quipped the paper's reporter, Sebastiano Vernazza, likening the Azzurri to the bearded rebels of the Cuban Revolution. He was quick to clarify that this comparison belonged strictly to the realms of facial fashion, adding that, "we can exclude the possibility...

 Posted by James Horncastle
Sep 5, 2014

Antonio Conte's 'hungry' Italy get off to a winning start

Antonio Conte debuts as Italy coach with a 2-0 win in a friendly match against the Netherlands.

"Felici e CONTE-nti," proclaimed La Gazzetta dello Sport's front page on Friday. "Happy and Content" was the pink paper's reaction to Italy's performance in their opening game of a new era under new Commissario Tecnico, Antonio Conte.

Buona la prima, as they say. It was a good first showing, and that shouldn't be taken for granted. Not since Dino Zoff got things off on the right foot against Wales on Sept. 5, 1998, has an Italy coach made a winning start to his tenure.

A Conte effect was already...

 Posted by Michael Cox
Aug 29, 2014

Dino Zoff: The quiet genius

ESPN FC'S Shaka Hislop and Steve Nicol discuss what made former Italy and Juventus captain Dino Zoff one of the best.

Who is the greatest captain of all time? From Aug. 18-29, ESPN FC will reveal its 10-man shortlist of the finest skippers to have graced the game, before conducting a vote for the winner. The result will be revealed on Sept. 1.


As the only goalkeeper on this list of captains, Dino Zoff is something of an anomaly. Goalkeeper-captains have become increasingly prevalent since Zoff's retirement, but the intriguing thing about Zoff is the way he bucked the trend in both roles. Goalkeepers are supposed...

 Posted by Gabriele Marcotti
Aug 20, 2014

Italy job a big gamble for Conte

Antonio Conte has spoken of his delight at being selected as the new Italy manager.

Antonio Conte can be accused of many things; being obsessed with climbing the managerial ladder is not among them.

On July 15 he resigned his post as Juventus manager despite three straight Serie A titles and the prospect of more. On Tuesday, 35 days later, he put pen to paper to become the Italy boss.

- Horncastle: Dysfunctional Italy turn to Conte

It's not that coaching Italy is necessarily a step down. It's just that a cold-hearted, cost-benefit analysis that some of his colleagues might...

 Posted by James Horncastle
Aug 15, 2014

Dysfunctional Italy turn to Conte

Italy are close to announcing the appointment of former Juventus boss Antonio Conte as their new manager.

Dietrologia is one of the great Italian words. It expresses the scepticism and distrust with which official explanations are met. There is always something behind or "dietro" them. What appears on the surface must instead mask a deeper hidden truth. This belief that something is being kept from them, that they aren't in on the whole story is an endless source of gossip and speculation for Italians. It indulges conspiracy theories.

Take Antonio Conte's decision to resign from Juventus for instance....

 Posted by James Horncastle
Aug 6, 2014

Ugly reality of Italian football emerges

As Cesare Prandelli offered his "irrevocable" resignation as coach of Italy following their elimination at the group stages of the World Cup, he reflected on his four-year tenure. He spoke about camouflaging the limits and problems of Italian football. A combination of clever techniques were used to conceal them, guided by a simple premise: if Italy played beautiful football and presented a positive image to the world on the international stage, it would hide the ugly and negative reality that had...