Italy to Win Euro 2016 Odds
Italy will cross the French border for their ninth ever UEFA European Championship participation as Euro 2016 comes like their sixth successive appearance, which means that Italy haven't missed any of the European Championships since its format extension to 16 teams during Euro 1996. Twenty years later, "The Azzurri" are on the first ever Euro with 24 teams involved and their disappointing performance at the past World Cup in Brazil, as well as Belgium's progress, are important reasons why Italy wasn't in Pot 1 of the UEFA Euro 2016 finals draw
and as a result of that Italy was the highest ranked team in Pot 2. Well, the destiny met exactly these two nations in one group as Italy is alongside Belgium, Sweden
and Republic of Ireland
in UEFA Euro 2016 Group E, which is undoubtedly one of the most intriguing, maybe with Group D.
Antonio Conte was the chosen one by the Italian Football Federation
for Cesare Prandelli's successor as Prandelli led Italy at the 2012 UEFA European Championship where all of you probably remember that Italy reached the final, where they lost to Spain - 0:4. So Antonio Conte has some expectations to carry on and he has his own moment of glory, since it's already announced that the 46-year-old Italian and former coach of Juventus will join the English Premier League
after Euro 2016, where Conte will become manager of Chelsea. Really serious challenge for the former Italian midfielder but the 2016 UEFA European Championship is even bigger, as Antonio Conte has tasted from the European Championship history as a player - he wore the Italian jersey and become runner-up from the 1994 FIFA World Cup and Euro 2000, as Conte has two goals scored for Italy. One of them was exactly at the 2000 UEFA European Championship finals in Belgium and the Netherlands where Conte's goal helped of Italy to scoop a 2–1 win against Turkey in the group-phase. Sixteen years after the silver-medals won and the unfortunate final defeat from France, Antonio Conte will return at the main stage with hopes to bring the trophy to Italy, but he must remain focused at the group phase in a first place.
Italy's best possible Euro 2016 lineup: Gianluigi Buffon (c) - Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli - Matteo Darmian, Thiago Motta, Daniele De Rossi, Alessandro Florenzi, Antonio Candreva - Lorenzo Insigne, Graziano Pellè. (3-5-2)
Fixtures and schedule of Italy for the upcoming Euro 2016 Finals
The Italians will begin their European quest with a clash of titans and perhaps one of the most anticipated matches part from the Euro 2016 group phase schedule, when on 13 June the brand new "Parc Olympique Lyonnais" will stage the Group E
game between Italy and Belgium
. Tricky beginning for "Squadra Azzurra" but they can squeeze positives from it and it can help them for their further games, especially if they earn something from it. As a reminder - Italy's Euro 2012 opening match was general warm up for the final, as they met Spain and the game ended with a draw - 1:1. However, it was followed by two more Group C where Italy drew against Croatia and won against Republic of Ireland in their last group stage game - 2:0. Four years later Italy and "The Boys In Green" are once again in the same group and they'll once again play in the third round, but before that Italy must be convincing enough in their second Euro 2016 fixtuere, which comes against another old acquaintance in Sweden's face. Indeed, Italy and Sweden have some history but be sure that you can find more about that in the related match preview, as we want to focus on Italy
's squad in that article.
Italian road to France and Euro 2016 qualifying campaign
Antonio Conte's men finished as UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying Group H winners after an unbeaten run marked by 7 wins and 3 draws. "The Azzurri" were in a group with teams of Croatia, Norway, Bulgaria, Azerbaijan and Malta, as two of their draws came in the direct scuffles against Croatia - 1:1 in both matches, while the third one came against Bulgaria - 2:2 draw in March 2015. So virtually Antonio Conte's best qualifying results are both wins against Norway
(third-placed team) and the narrow success over Bulgaria
, which came after a penalty and despite the score in that game, nothing else was near "best". Well, we all know that these wins are something typical for the Italians and it's pretty frequent to have them as winners, even if they don't play so well. Antonio Conte will have to work on that after the World Cup failure, when Italy won against England in their opening match, but that 2:1 win was followed by two defeats from both American representatives - 0:1 in both occasions against Costa Rica and Uruguay. Most of you probably remember the controversy in Italy's last game and the famous moment when Uruguayan striker Luis Suárez has bitten Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder, although he wasn't sent off. Later on Suárez was suspended but Italy was already knocked from the competition and they must show something more in the upcoming European Championship finals.
"The Blues" can't be particularly inspired from their results in the friendly games where Italy lost from Portugal
(0:1), Belgium (1:3) and Germany (1:4)
in period 2015-2016, while at the same time they have few more draws - vs England (1:1), Romania (2:2) and Spain (1:1). Their last more prestigious win, even in a friendly, remains back in September 2014 when Italy won against Netherlands - 2:0 at "Stadio Comunale San Nicola" in Bari, after two early goals scored by Ciro Immobile and Daniele De Rossi. Nevertheles, Italy always remains one from the big names in European football, a hidden favorite, and we all know what happens if you underestimate them, even for a bit. Antonio Conte surely aims to use this advantage at the tournament and his professional experience as a player and head coach will contribute for Italy for sure, as he knows the situation on the domestic scene very well, not to mention that he created the new look of Juventus, from where is the main basis of current Italian players.
Italy's Euro 2016 squad - selection preview
Names like legendary captain Gianluigi Buffon, defenders Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini are crucial for Italy, but surely the biggest hit over the potential Italian Euro 2016 roster comes from injury of Juve's midfielder Claudio Marchisio, who'll miss the tournament. Moreover, another huge blow in Italian midfield comes from Marco Verratti's injury, as the 23-year-old midfielder of French champions Paris Saint-Germain is ruled out of contention. Huge upset for Conte as two of his key players are surely out, but he can still consider to calling up another of his favorites - former midfielder of AC Milan and Juventus - Andrea "The Maestro" Pirlo. He can always carry his influence to the team and with such a high quality player, despite his advanced football age, Pirlo looks like a potential call up for the Italian squad at the upcoming UEFA Euro 2016 finals
. Other names that can compete for the midfield positions are other experienced names like Daniele De Rossi, Riccardo Montolivo, Thiago Motta, Emanuele Giaccherini, Marco Parolo and Antonio Candreva, as well as the not that much experienced Roberto Soriano, Giacomo Bonaventura, Alessandro Florenzi, Jorginho, Andrea Bertolacci, Federico Bernardeschi.
In attack Italy can pick among few different formations - one of them is potential 4-4-2 with two strikers, or also 3-5-2, 4-3-3. Something that mostly depends on their opponents. However, Graziano Pellè was Italy's top scorer during the Euro 2016 qualifying (3 goals) and the 30-year-old striker of English Southampton looks like the most possible starter. Some of the potential partners who Pellè may have are of Stephan El Shaarawy, Eder, Simone Zaza, Lorenzo Insigne and Sebastian Giovinco, but these aren't all options available for Antonio Conte.
Italy are one of the usual suspects and they're secretly hoping to repeating the same accomplishment like in their home edition at UEFA Euro 1968, when Italy lifted their first ever European Championship trophy after a 2:0 victory against Yugoslavia. On other turn Italy will be keen to avoiding the same scenario like last time they were vice-champions - group stage elimination from Euro 2004, when Italy was in one group with Sweden and "The Azzurri' were dropped out of the competition, although they were unbeaten.