Monday, October 30, 2017

Italy Greatest All-Time Team between 1938 and 1982

European Championship 1968
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.
Italy All Time Team
Italian diaspora
Southern ItalyCentral Italy,
Northern Italy(excluding Lombardy)Lombardy
Italy after 1982

Italy won back-to-back World Cups in the 1930's, but waited another 44 years to win it again in 1982.  Between those years, Italy has ups and downs.  Before 1968, Italy failed to advance further than the first round in the World Cup Finals. In 1968, Italy won the European Championship and two years later, they reached the Final before losing to Brazil at Mexico 1970.

This is my selection of Italy All-Time Team between their World Cup glories in 1939 and 1982.  The number 23 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the World Cup Finals.
World Cup 1970

Team GK:
 Enrico Albertosi 
Enrico Albertosi was one of the best keepers in his generations.  He played with Fiorentina that won Cup Winners' Cup in 1961.  Then, he moved to Calgary in 1968, where he played with Luigi Riva and won a scudetti with Caligari in 1970.  He later transferred to A.C. Milan in 1974, where he won yet another Serie A title and Coppa Italia.  For Azzurri, he was a part of Italy's European Championship team in 1968.  He went to the both 1966 and 1970 World Cup Finals.
Enrico Albertosi 
GK: Lorenzo Buffon 
Buffon was one of the best keepers in the 1950's and early 1960's.  He helped AC Milan to reach the Final of the 1958 European Cup Final.  He also played for Genoa C.F.C. (1959–60), F.C. Internazionale Milano (1960–63), and ACF Fiorentina (1963–64). His cousin is Gianluigi Buffon's Grandfather.  He had 15 caps and went to the 1962 World Cup Finals.

GK: Giuliano Sarti 
Giuliano Sarti had done well in European football.  In 1960-61, he helped Fiorentina to win the Cup Winners' Cup.  In 1963, he joined Inter Milan and became the starting keeper of La Grande Inter under Helenio Herrera.  He won back-to-back European Cup with them in 1964 and 1965. He only had 8 caps with the Italian national team.

RB: Tarcisio Burgnich 
Throughout his career, Burgnich played for Udinese, Juventus, Palermo, Internazionale, and Napoli; although he won titles with both Juventus and Napoli, he is best known for his time with Inter Milan, where he was a member of manager Helenio Herrera's Grande Inter side.  He also participated and won the Euro 1968 with Italy. 

RB/CBArdico Magnini 
Ardico Magnini startd his career with Pistoiese.  He was a great defender for Fiorentina during the 1950's.  Later, he played for Genoa. He won the scudetto in 1956.  He was a main player for Italy as well. He was capped 20 times between 1953 and 1957, a recovery period after the Superga Disaster.  He went to the 1954 World Cup Finals.
Ardico Magnini 

RB/SW: Cesare Maldini 
Cesare Maldini began his career with Italian side Triestina, before transferring to Milan in 1954, with whom he won four Serie A league titles and one European Cup during his twelve seasons with the club.  He was the captain of the 1963 European Cup winning team, the first ever European Cup for AC Milan.  He picked up 14 caps for Italy.  After retirement, he became a successful coach.  His son is Paolo Maldini.

CB: Roberto Rosato  
Rosato played for 15 seasons in the Serie A for A.C. Torino, A.C. Milan, Genoa and Aosta before officially retiring in 1979. He is mostly remembered for his highly successful period with Milan, where he won 1 Serie A A title, 3 Coppa Italia titles, 1969 European Cup, 2 European Super Cups, and 1 Intercontinental Cup.  He played 37 times for Italy.  He went to both 1966 and 1970 World Cup, and was a member of the Euro 1968 winning team.

SW: Armando Picchi 
He was the captain of La Garnde Inter.  The team was transformed when Helenio Herrera moved him to the libero position during the 1961-1962 season and a legendary team was born.  He was often credited of changing how the position was played. He was capped 12 times by the Azzurri, but he was left out of the 1966 World Cup team and an injury prevented him from playing at the European Championship of 1968, in which Italy won.

CB: Aristide Guarneri 
Guarneri made his professional debut for Como in 1957, also playing for Internazionale, Bologna, Napoli, and ending his career with Cremonese 1973. He most notably player for the Inter Milan team known as La Grande Inter, between 1958 and 1967. He was part of Inter's European Cup victories in 1964 and 1965. Capped 21 times.  He went to England 1966 and was a part of Euro 1968 winning team.

LB: Giacinto Facchetti
Until the emerge of Paolo Maldini, Giacinto Facchetti was considered to be Italy's greatest left back. He spent his entire career with Inter Milan from 1960 to 1978.  He was the star wingback of La Grande Inter where they won back-to-back European Cups in the 1960's.  He was capped 94 times for Italy and also won the Euro 1968 with Italy. He played in 1966, 1970 and 1974 World Cup Finals.
Giacinto Facchetti
LB: Sergio Cervato 
Cervato started with F.C. Bolzano, but known for his career with Fiorentina. He won the scudetti with Fiorentina in 1955-56 as their captain where they only lost one match.  The club finished as runners-up for the next four consecutive years in 1957, 1958, 1959 and 1960. They reached the 1957 European Cup Final the following season.  He joined Juventus and spent two seasons there, winning two more scudetti.  He played 28 times for Italy.  He participated at the 1954 World Cup Finals.

DM:  Romeo Benetti
At international level, Romeo Benetti represented the Italy national football team on 55 occasions between 1971 and 1980, and took part at the 1974 and 1978 FIFA World Cups, as well as UEFA Euro 1980, achieving fourth-place finishes in the latter two tournaments. He is best remembered for his 5 seasons with AC Milan between 1070 and 1976, winning a Cup Winners' Cup. He also won the 1976–77 UEFA Cup with Juventus.
Romeo Benetti
DM: Giancarlo Di Sisti 
Di Sisti was known for his two stints with Roma and 9 seasons with Fiorentina in between.  He helped Fiorentina winning the 1968-69 scudetto. At international level, De Sisti earned 29 caps and scored 4 goals for the Italy national football team between 1967 and 1972 He later played in the European championship-winning team at Euro 1968 on home soil.

CM/DM: Aldo Campatelli
Born in Milan, Aldo Campatelli made his debut with Inter Milan at the age of 17 in 1939.  He played with them until 1950.  He won two Serie A titles with Inter Milan before the war as their captain.  From 1950 to 1953, he played with Bologna.    He was capped 7 times between 1939 and 1950, and a member of the 1950 World Cup team.

RW: Angelo Domenghini  
Domenghini began his professional career with Atalanta in 1960. He then moved to Inter Milan in 1964, and was a member of manager Helenio Herrera's highly successful "Grande Inter" squad.  He was capped on 33 times for Italy between 1963 and 1972. He notably scored the equalizer in the 80th minute against Yugoslavia in the Final of Euro1968. Italy then went on to win the replay 2–0. He later went on to take part in the 1970 World Cup. 

LW: Mario Corso 
Mario Corso was one of the greatest Italian wingers.  Nicknamed "God's Left Foot", he was a part of La Grande Inter of the 1960's. Except for two seasons with Genoa at the end of his career, he played his entire career with Inter Milan. He earned 23 caps for Italy , but never selected for any major tournament.

CM/AM: Gianni Rivera
Gianni Rivera was Italy's "Golden Boy"of the 1960's and perhaps their best player of his generation.  He won the Ballon d'Or in 1969.  He led AC Milan to win two European Cups in 1963 and 1969. He was capped 63 times, scoring 15 goals, at four World Cup Finals (1962, 1966, 1970, and 1974). Rivera is remembered for scoring the decisive goal in Italy's extra-time win over West Germany in the semi-final of Mexico 1970.  Italy reached the Final of that World Cup Final before losing Pele's Brazil.

Gianni Rivera

CM/AM: Sandro Mazzola
Sandro Mazzola was a part of Inter Milan's "La Grande Inter".  He won four Serie A titles (1963, 1965, 1966 and 1971), two European Cups (1964 and 1965) and two Intercontinental Cups (1964 and 1965).  He won the Euro 1968 with the Azzurri and led them to the WC Finals in 1970.  During his career, he was known for sharing the starting position with AC Milan's Gianni Rivera on the national team. His father was Valentino Mazzola who died when Sandro was 7 years old.
Sandro Mazzola
Valentino Mazzola was the best player in the world during the 1940's.  He was the captain and symbol of the "Grande Torino", the team recognised as one of the strongest in the world during the second half of the 1940s, with whom Mazzola won five Serie A championships.  His career, however, was limited by the War.  He never played in the World Cup.  His life was cut short by the Superga Air Disaster in 1949.  He was Sandro's father.

RW/FW: Giampiero Boniperti
Giampiero Boniperti played his entire career with Juventus and is considered one of their greatest ever player.  He was the highest goalscorer in Juventus' history for more than 40 years, until his record was broken by Alessandro Del Piero. He went to the World Cup Finals in 1950 and 1954.  He was capped 38 times and served as captain 24 times.  
Giampiero Boniperti
Gabetto began his career with Juventus in 1934, scoring 102 goals for the club in seven seasons.  ln 1941 he was acquired by local rivals Torino, for a notable sum of 330,000 Lit. Aside from goalkeeper Alfredo Bodoira, he is the only player to win the Italian championship with both Torino F.C. and cross-city rivals Juventus F.C.

Roberto Boninsegna was a key player as Italy reached the World Cup Final in 1970, scoring Italy's lone goal at the Final against Brazil.  He also played in the World Cup Finals in 1974, but was overlooked for the Euro 1968. For his club career, his best years were with Inter Milan, where he won a single scudetto.  In 1976, he joined Juventus, winning two more scudetto, an Italian Cup and an UEFA Cup.

ST: Luigi Riva   
With 35 goals in 42 appearances between 1965 and 1974 , Luigi Riva was the all-time leading scorer for the Italy.  Riva won the 1968  European Championship and was runner-up at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.  He also took part at the 1974 World Cup. At the club level, he was Serie A top scorer for three seasons. He was probably the best ever player at Cagliari, leading them to win their only scudetti in 1969-1970. 
Luigi Riva

Honorable Mention
Fabio Cudicini, Giorgio Ghezzi, Carlo Annovazzi, Virgílio Maroso, Giuseppe Wilson, Aldo Ballarin, Giacomo Bulgarelli, Giorgio Chinaglia, Gigi Meroni, Antonio Juliano, Claudio Sala.

Squad Explanation
-- Giacinto Facchetti, Romeo Benetti, Gianni Rivera, Sandro Mazzola, Valentino Mazzola and Luigi Riva are also on my Italy All Time Team.  They are obvious choices here.
-- Valentino Mazzola and Guglielmo Gabetto died on the Superga air disaster in 1949. Some critics blamed the failure of Italy in the 1950's on the accident, but both players were over 30 at the time of it. However, Virgílio Maroso was 23 at the time of his death.
-- Most of the players came from the Euro 1968 winning team. Luigi Riva, Sandro Mazzola, Gianni Rivera , Angelo Domenghini, Giancarlo Di Sisti, Giacinto Facchetti, Aristide Guarneri, Roberto Rosato,Tarcisio Burgnich and Enrico Albertos. Armando Picchi Mario Corso and Roberto Boninsegna also belongd to that generation.  The core group of the team also reached the 1970 World Cup Finals.
-- Mario Corso was overlooked by Italy for 1962, 1966 and 1970 World Cup Finals as well as the 1968 European Championship, but he was widely considered among the greatest Italian wingers of all-time.
-- Armando Picchi only played 12 times for Italy.  He was overlooked for the 1966 World Cup Finals.  Corso and he were club mates with Inter Milan's La Grande Inter. Sandro Mazola, Giacinto Facchetti, Aristide Guarneri, Tarcisio Burgnich and Giuliano Sarti are also members of La Grande Inter.
-- Italy had poor performance at the World Cup Finals from the end of the World War Two until the 1970 World Cup Finals.  They even failed to qualify for the 1958 World Cup Finals. In 1966, they were eliminated by North Korea.
-- Giampiero Boniperti's career was during the dark age of Italian football in the 1950's. I also took Sergio Cervato and Aldo Campatelli. Cesare Maldini also played in the 1950's.
--  Aldo Campatelli began his club career in 1936.  He earned his first cap in 1939.
-- Roberto Bettega belonged to the generation of the 1982 World Cup, despite not playing in it. The same applied to Paolo Pulici. Romeo Benetti retired from the national team in 1980.
-- Dino Zoff is actually older than Gianni Rivera, Luigi Riva, Sandro Mazzola, Giacinto Facchetti, Roberto Rosato, etc, but he was the captain of the 1982 World Cup team.  I could not include the captain of the 1982 team for this blog, can I?
-- Omar Sivori, Humberto Maschio and Antonio Angelillo only played a handful matches for Italy. They were not seriously considered.  
-- Giorgio Chinaglia and Fabio Cudicini only made honorable mention, despite having great club careers.  The latter actually never played for Italy.
Except Benetti and Boniperti, every starter came from the late 1960's and early 1970's generation. In real life, Italy did not play Rivera and Sandro Mazzola on the same field.

1 comment:

  1. Fabio-Cudicini
    Roberto-Filippi Armando-Picchi Virgilio-Maroso Giacinto-Facchetti
    Giancarlo-de-Sisti Giacomo-Bulgarelli
    Gianni-Rivera Valentino-Mazzola
    Giorgio-Chinaglia Gigi-Riva

    Comparing footage of Corso with that of Chinaglia, the latter seems more dangerous.
    Cudicini and Albertosi had similar Serie A careers but Albertosi did not impress for Italy. Cudicini gets a chance.
    Maroso is the representative of the 50's:)