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5 pieces of Italian World Cup Trivia

The World Cup is taken seriously in Italy – perhaps more seriously than in any other European country, but that’s hardly surprising given that the country has won a total of four titles (second only to Brazil), and that the importance of football and the national team is perhaps the one thing that all Italians can agree on!

To celebrate the 2014 World Cup, and in the hope that the azzurri progress and make that fifth title a reality, we’re happy to present 7 bits of World Cup Trivia related to Italy:

World Cup Trivia - Italy

The World Cup is Italian. No, Really…

Silvio Gazzaniga and the World Cup in 1974

The actual World Cup trophy is 100% Italian, at least in the sense that the current World Cup trophy was made, under commission from FIFA, in the Italian town of Paderno Dugnano, in the province of Milan for the 1974 world cup and onwards to the present day.

In 1971, after the Brazilians were given the right to keep the original Jules Rimet World Cup Trophy (as stipulated in the original rules) FIFA needed a new trophy. 53 designs were submitted, but it was Italian Scultpor Silvio Gazzaniga whose harmonious and elegant design was chosen.

Italy is just one of two countries to succesfully defend a World Cup Title

The 1934 Italian World Cup Team

Only Brazil and Italy have succesfully managed to defend a World Cup Title – in Italy’s case it was the 1934 and 1938 competitions. A fine achievement, though perhaps one that needs to be put into the 1930’s context. For example, Italy refused to participate in the 1930 World Cup in Uruguay angered at FIFA’s failure to award them the right to host that year’s competition; in 1934 Uruguay repaid the favour – thus automatically ruining their own chances for this achievement. Add to that the fact that Italy’s 1934 victory remains more than a little controversial – Mussolini was in charge, and the night before the final had a one-to-one dinner with the match referee Ivan Eklind.

Italy hold the record for passing accuracy in the World Cup

The Italian team that played England

Stop the press – this is the freshest bit of trivia we have, coming from last Saturday’s 2-1 victory over England. According to the Italian sports newspaper (the fact they have an entire newspaper devoted to sport, and for the most part calcio – football – tells you everything!) The Gazetta dello Sport Italy completed 554 successful passes with 93.19 per cent accuracy in the game in Manaus.
The previous record holders were Denmark. Not sure what that tells us!

The latest goal from Kick-off was an Italian one


Einstein, relativity and the football pitch – it could’ve been the title for the 2006 encounter between Italy and Germany, historic footballing foes (many Italians still mark down their 1982 Spanish World Cup victory against Germany as their finest hour). The Azzurri, who would win that year’s World Cup, had played a lacklustre campaign to that point – with a poor showing against the USA and a narrow win against Australia in the knockout stages. The Italians had it all to play for in Dortmund when they met host nation Germany, the favourites for their encounter. It was a nil all contest through to extra time, and the dreaded penalties beckoned until explosively in the dying minutes of extra-time the Italians scored not once, but twice. Fabio Grosso scoring 119 minutes after kick-off, and Alessandro del Piero taking the curious record of the latest goal from kick-off with the second goal in the 120th minute. Time crawled, and then, when you weren’t ready suddenly sprinted off with a hop, skip and a jump into history! Champions!

The largest age difference on a Champion Team


Italy has gone, in the last 3 years from having one of the oldest prime-minister’s in Europe (Silvio Berlusconi aged 77) to having one of the youngest, Matteo Renzi (aged 39), and so too, in 1982 it had the largest age difference on a world cup winning team: Dino Zoff was 40 for the competition, while Giuseppe Bergomi was just 18. Caution and inspiration were the hallmarks of this winning squad, which burst into life after a poor initial showing, beating Brazil (the competition favourites) 3-2 in what was dubbed by the Brazilian press ‘the Sarrià Stadium Tragedy‘. Both Zoff and Bergomi played in that important game – Bergomi albeit as a sub, coming on in the 34th minute after Collovati was red-carded.

And finally, not a piece of trivia, but a wonderful bit of living history – a video taken, in Rimini, showing Italian fans celebrating that 1982 victory over W. Germany in Spain.

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