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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
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Sumeet Paul blog profile  By Sumeet Paul
Oct 14, 2014

Milan men Abate, Montolivo and El Shaarawy key to Italy hopes

The ESPN FC panel discuss Iceland's surprising form in their European qualification campaign, AC Milan's ability to return to prominence and Raheem Sterling's work ethic.

Despite winning all four games since replacing Cesare Prandelli as Italy coach, Antonio Conte has failed to convince entirely thus far. The former Juventus boss has guided the Azzurri to joint-top in Group H of Euro 2016 qualifying, but tense wins over Azerbaijan and Malta have left the Italian media with more questions than answers.

While individuals have been praised, the collective have fallen short of impressing with La Gazzetta dello Sport noting that Italy "failed to show up" particularly...

Oct 13, 2014

Andrea Pirlo's Italy U-turn could jeopardise Azzurri's future

Andrea Pirlo has hailed his Italy teammates after securing a late win over Azerbaijan in their Euro 2016 qualifier.

A meal was all it took to bring Andrea Pirlo back into the fold. The One Apple Concept Bar in Turin promises patrons "fresh and colourful food" in a downtown setting. But the Juventus player took something much more valuable from his visit: a fresh start to his international career.

Owned by Antonio Conte's brother, Daniele, One Apple was where the new Italy manager arranged to meet Pirlo in late August. Nobody was sure, at the time, if the midfielder would play for the Azzurri ever again.

He had...

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...

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...

 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...

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...