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By user Bobo
The azzurri have finished as winners of this tournament three times, and not undeservedly so. They are undoubtedly one of the strongest national teams of either Europe or indeed South America. They won the competition on the first two occasions in which they entered it, and won a historic championship in 1982 in Spain, when their team included such players as the forty-year-old Dino Zoff, and the considerably younger pair of Pietro Vierchowod and Claudio Gentile.
Having mentioned which, their last World Cup was something more of a disaster, with the team exiting thanks to an inspiring display from co-hosts South Korea.
Italy are present in Group E with Ghana, the Czech Republic and the United States. Assuming that they beat at least two of the teams (presumably at least the Czechs and the Ghanaians, though I'd personally love to see the United States garner a result against at least two of the teams), they'll make it through to the quarter finals.
But were it to go down to the final day's-worth of qualifying, the question is who would hold their nerve better in a game between the Czechs and the Italians. It would be nice to see the Czechs go with something, but if this is at the expense of the Americans, I don't think I could personally live with the barrage of criticism afterward...