As far back as the 15th century, Italians played an early form of football. The game in its early form was known as giuco del calcio fiorentino, or Florentine kickball. In the 19th century, English, Scottish, and Swiss sailors introduced the game to the cities of Genoa, Milan and Turin. The name calcio stuck around, however, as the Italian language did not borrow a derivation of the English word football as most other languages did.
The Italian Football Association was founded in 1898. Around that time, clubs sprang up: FC Juventus was founded in 1897, AC Milan in 1899, SS Lazio in 1900, and FC Internazionale Milan in 1908, though the Italian league, Serie A, was not established until 1927.
Italian clubs have for decades been among the top clubs in the world. Throughout the history of European cup competitions, Italian sides have captured numerous titles and were among the first to bring in foreign talent from South America and other parts of Europe.
The Italian national team found quick success on the international stage. Italy captured the Olympic Gold medal in 1936 between winning the 1934 and 1938 FIFA World Cup(tm) finals, making quick work of their rivals and becoming the first team to successfully defend their FIFA World Cup title, something matched only by the great Brazilian teams of 1958 and 1962.
After World War II, however, Italian football reached a low point. The entire first team of champions Torino, including national team captain Valentino Mazzola, were killed in a plane crash in 1949. Italy did not qualify for the 1958 finals, and at the 1966 FIFA World Cup England, Italy’s loss to North Korea is perhaps the biggest upset in the history of the tournament.
Two years later, the Azzurri turned around their fortunes and ushered in a new era in Italian football, capturing the UEFA European Championships in 1968. In 1970, Italy advanced to the FIFA World Cup final before losing to Brazil, 4-1, but they went one better in 1982 when reaching the pinnacle of world football for the third time behind star Paolo Rossi, defeating West Germany, 3-1, in the final.
Italy finished third on their home soil in 1990, and Roberto Baggio led them to the final again four years later, where the Azzurri lost to Brazil on penalties.
The main players
Birth Date: 28 January 1978
Height: 188 cm
Weight: 83 kg
Current Club: Juventus Turin (ITA)
International: Goals: 0 (as of 27 May 2002)
International: Caps: 26 (as of 27 May 2002)
First International Cap: Russia (29 October 1997)
Birth Date: 26 June 1968
Height: 185 cm
Weight: 77 kg
Current Club: AC Milan (ITA)
International Goals: 7 (as of 27 May 2002)
International Caps: 122 (as of 27 May 2002)
First International Cap: Yugoslavia (31 March 1988)
Birth Date: 13 September 1973
Height: 175 cm
Weight: 72 kg
Current Club: Parma (ITA)
International Goals: 0 (as of 27 May 2002)
International Caps: 58 (as of 27 May 2002)
First International Cap: Northern Ireland (22 January 1997)
The Danger Men
Birth Date: 9 August 1973
Height: 181 cm
Weight: 74 kg
Current Club: AC Milan (ITA)
International Goals: 15 (as of 27 May 2002)
International Caps: 38 (as of 27 May 2002)
First International Cap: Brazil (8 June 1997)
Birth Date: 27 September 1976
Height: 180 cm
Weight: 78 kg
Current Club: AS Rome (ITA)
International Goals: 5 (as of 27 May 2002)
A Profile on ‘Totti’
Totti is probably my favorite player in the Italian international team he is a very skillful player and has already scored in the Korea/Japan 2002 world cup in their opening game against Equador. You have read how much I like Totti but here is a profile on him that other people have said about him.
Any attacking player that shines consistently in such a defensive league as Italian Serie A will almost certainly be one of the most talented players in the world. Francesco Totti has already proved he is one of the best second strikers in Italy and the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/JapanTM will give him the perfect platform to prove it to a watching world.
Totti began his professional career at 16 when he debuted for AS Roma in March 1993. Though he would play in just ten games the next two seasons, Totti already had invaluable experience that would only help him down the road, and by 1995, he was a regular. His eye for goal did not focus until the 1997-98 season. Totti scored 13 goals that year and showed the rest of the country that he had arrived.
Totti is best suited as an attacking midfielder/withdrawn forward. With the national team, he is part of Italy’s three-man strike corps, along with Christian Vieri and Alessandro del Piero. But the Roma captain typically stays tucked behind the two, where he is just as lethal as any other striker.
At the UEFA European Championship Belgium/The Netherlands 2000, Totti displayed his skills to the rest of Europe. He scored an amazing goal against Romania, scored a crucial penalty kick against Holland and played superbly in the final against France. He played so well, he was named Man of the Match, despite losing to France, 2-1.
The next Serie A season, Totti was a vital member of AS Roma’s squad. With Argentine superstar Gabriel Batistuta, Totti formed one of the most potent offences in Italy. Roma captured the Serie A title, and along the way, Totti, Roma’s captain, collected 13 goals.
In Korea/Japan, Totti will be given control of the squad and will be counted on heavily to help Italy capture their fourth world championship. If they do, Italy manager Giovanni Trapattoni feels Totti will be the difference because of his unique talent.
“Every player has some genius, but there’s only one Van Gogh, and there is nobody like Totti,” Trapattoni has said.