Italy at the World Cup
The Italian football team, called the 'Azzurri', have been World Cup Champions four times: 1934, 1938, 1982, 2006. In the most recent World Cup in 2014, Italy were surprisingly eliminated at the group stage.
- Italy's World Cup 1934 player Allemandi was once banned from football for life for accepting a bribe. The Juventus player was found to have accepted a 50,000-Lire payment to cheat in a match against Torino. However, he was later re-instated and chosen as captain of the Italian national team in World Cup 1934.
- Italian player Raimondo Orsi went back to the stadium the day after the 1934 Final to demonstrate his spectacular curling shot, as the press photographers wanted to take a picture of Orsi's swerving shot that had turned into a winning goal in the Final. He tried more than 20 times to repeat that splendid shot on the same spot, but failed each time.
- As Italian skipper Peppino Meazza scored the penalty kick in a 1938 Semi-final, his shorts, torn earlier in the game, slipped down to leave him exposed. His celebrating team-mates surrounded him until a new pair of shorts were produced.
- Right before the Italy and Hungary 1938 Final match, the Italian players received a telegraph from Rome which read 'Win or die!' Fortunately the team won and did not have to find out if it was a hoax or not.
- Because of World War II, the World Cup was not held between 1938 and 1950. As a result, Italy were the reigning World Cup holders for a record 16 years leading up to the 1950 World Cup.
- Eight Italian internationals were killed in an air crash shortly before the 1950 finals, in the Superga air disaster.
- Italian Striker Gianfranco Zola was sent off on 28th birthday, when he played in a 1994 finals match. He was sent off in the 76th minute in a Second Round match against Nigeria on 5 July 1994. Italy won the match 2-1 and went on to reach the Final.
- Italy surprisingly failed to advance past the first stage of the 2010 World Cup. They were the winners of the previous World Cup in 2006.