World Cup: Italy Preview
Italy is the defending World Cup champion and they have won the event four times and they have one of the best defenses in the tournament and are also in one of the easier groups.
Italy is in Group F along with Paraguay, Slovakia, and New Zealand.
Bovada has Italy at +1200 to win the World Cup and at -333 to win Group F.
Italy has not played well in the last few international competitions, but they should not have much trouble getting out of their group. No team in the group is ranked very high with the next highest FIFA ranked team after Italy is Paraguay at 30th.
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However, Paraguay and Slovakia each have a solid defense and the strength of the Italians is not their offense.
Italy won the World Cup in 2006 in Germany and has won the title four times overall, has come in second twice, third once, and fourth once.
Just like in 2006 the main strength of the Italian squad is their defense. Their back line is solid with Giorgio Chiellini and Fabio Cannavaro both of Juventus. G Gigi Buffon, also of Juventus, is still the premier goalie in the world and in the last World Cup he only gave up two goals, one on an own-goal and one on a penalty shot. The Italians also play a great team game that knows how to win.
The one main weakness, just like in 2006, for Italy is their offense. They lack a world-class striker that other elite teams in the tournament have. They will have to rely on their defense and look for counter-attacking chances to score. It may be a good idea for Italy to put AS Roma striker Francisco Totti on the squad.
Head coach Marcello Lippi has won it all from club championships to the World Cup and he does not stray from his defensive tactics, which is the main reason he is not endeared in Italy even though he won in Germany in 2006.
Italy will be big favorites in each of the Group F matches they play and they should have no problem getting out of the group. However, they cannot take Paraguay and especially Slovakia for granted, as the Slovaks scored the most goals in their World Cup qualifying group.
How far the Italians go will depend on how their defense plays.
Italy World Cup Schedule
6/14/2010 Italy vs. Paraguay
6/20/2010 Italy vs. New Zealand
6/24/2010 Slovakia vs. Italy