Past glory for Italy

Over the decades, Italy has produced some of the greatest playmakers in the game. Within a span of just two decades, Seria A has seen a number of home grown talents don the much coveted number 10 jersey as they aspired to take their country to the heights of International glory. From World Cup 90' to the 2006 Winning tournament, the Italian peninsula has been blessed with the likes of Roberto Baggio, Francesco Totti, and Alessandro Del Piero. With a generation of footballers that are by now retired, the question remains, who will lift the mantle and carry the Italian national team all the way to Paris in this year's Euro tournament? It's a difficult question to answer considering the greatest in the league are currently coveted by foreign players.

The best player in the league and possibly in Europe, Paul Pogba, will be a great asset to the French side as they seek to reclaim a trophy on home soil, a feat they haven't achieved since they hosted the world cup in 1998. The top striker in the league so far, Gonzalo Higuain, has also proved he's deserving of the Seria A player of the year award for his 20+ goal tally this season. But, these two greats of Seria A #Football will not help the Italian team conquer Europe this summer. England has so far proven they have a strong squad for their upcoming European campaign, being that the Premier League's top striker Jamie Vardy plays both for Leicester FC and the English National Team.  

 When Italy won the 2006 World Cup hosted in Germany, the national side was blessed with a reservoir of top players that included a young Andrea Pirlo, whose precision in the midfield could not be matched. The last world cup was a disaster for the azzurri, as both Mario Balotelli and Ciro Immobile proved they were ineffectual in producing results on such a large international platform, like many of the Italian players of yester years had done so many times before. No one could forget Paolo Rossi's explosive performance against Brazil in the World Cup of 1982, or Roberto Baggio helping his team stage a comeback against a strong Nigerian team at Foxboro Massachusetts in June of 1994.

Looking forward to the future

That generation of players proved their worth, a first round elimination was unheard of and considered a national disgrace for the Italians. However, with two consecutive tournament failures in 2010 and 2014, Italy needs to put together a squad around a traditional formula that has always worked: that of a quality striker and playmaker.  With Balotelli far from being the player he was, and with Pirlo's advanced age, the azzurri are in desperate need for their younger players to step up this summer. Marco Verratti is fantastic, but he still needs to prove his worth considering he's stepping into the cleats of a position that was once dominated by Totti for over a decade. Italy has a fantastic defensive line, with Abate and De Sciglio on the flanks, and a central defensive pairing of Chiellini and Bonnucci. But, giving up goals was never a problem with Italy. For any chance of achieving International glory, the Italians will need a solid offensive line that will rise to the occassion when called upon. If not, everyone will continue to remember the cringe-worthy misstep of Mario Balotelli roofing the ball over the Costa Rican goalie's net two years ago in Brazil.        #Soccer