Italy have qualified for the sixth consecutive time to a final tournament of the European Championship, the last time tournament the missed was the Euro 1992. In the group stage they will face Belgium, Republic of Ireland and Sweden.
Brief History at the Euros
In 1968 the European Championship was held in Italy, for the home team it was the first appearance at the Euros. In the semi-final they faced the Soviet Union the game ended 0–0. And the winner was decided by tossing a coin as the penalty shoot-out was not introduced yet. Italy won, while the Soviets played for the third place and they were defeated by England.
In the final Italy was facing Yugoslavia. The game ended 1-1, the Yugoslavs opened the score sheet in the first half, but the Azzurri equalized 10 minutes before the game ended. As the match ended in a draw, the match was rescheduled to determine the winner. Two days later Italy won 2-0, becoming European Championships.
Italy Euro 1968(source: forzaitalianfootball.com)
The Azzurri didn't qualify for the next two editions (1972 and 1976). In 1980 the championship was held again in Italy. The home side finished second in their group with Belgium, England and Spain, which meant they played for the third place and they faced Czechoslovakia. The game ended 1-1 and Czechoslovakia won after the penalty shoot-out 9-8.
After missing the Euro 1984, Italy returned in 1988, they reached the semi-finals after they finished second in the group stage behind Germany. In the semi-final they placed against the Soviet Union, the Azzurri lost after two second half goals from the Soviets, the game finished 2-0.
For the Euro 1992 Italy didn't qualify but they did for the Euro 1996 which was held in England. They were eliminated early, finishing third in their group behind Germany and Czech Republic.
In 2000 the European Championship was held in Belgium and Netherlands. Italy finished first in their group ahead of Turkey, Belgium and Sweden, winning all three games. In the quarter-final they played against Romania and they won comfortably 2-0. In the semi-final they faced the home side Netherlands, the game finished 0-0 after extra time. It was decided by penalties who will go into the final and Italy won 3-1.
In the final they were facing the reigning World Champions, France. Italy opened the score sheet and it looked like they won it, but France equalized in the stoppage time and scored again in the extra-time defeating the Azzurri and becoming European Champions.
Italy vs France Euro 2000 final(source GettyImages)
In 2004 Italy didn't reach the knock-out stage of the competition, finishing third in their group behind Sweden and Denmark.
In 2008 the Euros were held in Austria and Switzerland, Italy reached the knockout stage, finishing second in a group with Netherlands, Romania and France. In the quarter-final they were eliminated by eventual Euro winners Spain after penalties 4-2.
In 2012 Italy advanced to the knock-out stage of the competition after they finished second placed behind Spain. In the quarter-final the eliminated England after penalties (4-2), then in the semi-final they eliminated Germany, winning 2-1.
In the final they faced Spain, whom they draw 1-1 in the group stage, but this time the 2010 World Champions won comfortably 4-0 winning their second consecutive European Championship trophy and making the Azzurri lose their second Euro final after the one in 2000.
Italy road to Euro 2016
Italy was part of group H along with Croatia, Norway, Bulgaria, Azerbaijan and Malta. They finished first place three points ahead of second placed Croatia. They accumulated 24 points winning seven games and drawing three.
The complete table:
The results obtained by Belgium:
||0 - 2||Italy
||2 - 1||Azerbaijan
||0 - 1||Italy
||1 - 1||Croatia
||2 - 2||Italy
||1 - 1||Italy
||1 - 0||Malta
||1 - 0||Bulgaria
||1 - 3||Italy
||2 - 1||Norway
Italy Euro 2016 squad and group
(Confirmed 23-man squad)
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Federico Marchetti (Lazio), Salvatore Sirigu (Paris Saint-Germain)
Defenders: Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Angelo Ogbonna (West Ham), Matteo Darmian (Manchester United), Mattia De Sciglio (Milan)
Midfielders: Antonio Candreva (Lazio), Alessandro Florenzi (Roma), Thiago Motta (PSG), Stefano Sturaro (Juventus), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Marco Parolo (Lazio), Federico Bernardeschi (Fiorentina), Stephan El Shaarawy (Roma), Emanuele Giaccherini (Bologna)
Forwards: Eder (Inter), Ciro Immobile (Torino), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Graziano Pellè (Southampton), Simone Zaza (Juventus)
Italy will play against Belgium in the first round, the last time the two teams met was in the 2015 in an international friendly and Belgium won 3-1.
The second game will be against Sweden. The last time the two teams met was in 2009 in an international friendly and Italy won 1-0.
Their third game will be with Republic of Ireland, the last time the two teams met was in the 2014 in an international friendly and the game ended with a 0-0 draw.
Italy All Time Records
The top 5 players with the most appearances:
The top 5 players with the most goals:
|5||Alessandro Del Piero||27||0.30|