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Cuore Azzurro

A girl’s English guide to the Italian National Team AFP Alberto Pizzoli

The Road of Champions ASphoto


AFP Vano Shlamov



! z i u

Which Italian soccer player is your best match?


Remembering the 2006 World Cup Tania Rebuli

Our exclusive interview with TLN’s soccer host Alf De Blasis!

Review and fan stories inside

Editor, writer, designer: Tania Rebuli

Contents: 2006 World Cup: In Review................ 1 Remembering the 2006 World Cup.... 3 Quiz.......................................................4 Road to South Africa............................5 Lippi: What to do?................................6 Fantasy Soccer.......................................7 Italian Fantasy Soccer Catalogue........ 8 My Italian Fantasy Team..................... 15 Fantasy Soccer Points Table................ 16 Interview with Alf DeBlasis................ 17 2010 World Cup: Group F................... 19 Acknowledgements.............................. 20

2006 World Cup: in review


Cannavaro lifts up the World Cup for Italians across the World to see.

goal, and another a penalty shot. Italy’s

July 9th, 2006.Does that date run shivers down your spine? It probably does for any loyal fan of the Italian national team. It brings back the vivid memories, and the amazing sensation of knowing that your team is the best soccer team in the world. The best

team effort seems to be what lead them to victory in 2006, rising up from the rest of the teams, coming unbeaten in all 7 games. The group stage saw Italy beating Ghana and Czech by a score of 2-0 in both games, and tying 1-1 against USA. Daniele De Rossi was sent off during the

way to prepare yourself for the upcoming World Cup of

game against USA for a violent elbow to Brian McBride,

2010 is to recall the previous one, from Pirlo’s perfect

and later suspended for four matches. Meanwhile,

free-kick in the first game against Ghana, all the way to

Christian Zaccardo managed to get the ball past his

Grosso’s winning penalty shot in the final against France. Italy impressed all during their 2006 World Cup campaign, which occurred right after a game-fixing scandal in the Italian soccer league, Serie A. Most of the world champions came from the Italian powerhouse teams that were accused of paying referees, and arrived in Germany with a point to prove. Italy scored twelve goals throughout the campaign coming from ten different players, and only conceded 2 goals, one being an own-

teammate, Gianluigi Buffon, to gift the Americans a goal (Yes, an Italian defender scored in his own net). In the round of 16, Italy beat Australia with a late game penalty shot from Francesco Totti at the 95th minute mark, and they later surpassed Ukraine with a 3-0 game. Two of those goals came from goal-scorer Luca Toni, who had great difficulty finding the back of the net throughout the World Cup.

And finally, who can forget the semi-final game

head butted Materazzi. After Zidane’s expulsion in extra

against Germany. One hundred and twenty minutes of a

time, the game went to penalty shots, where Pirlo,

scoreless game, filled with excellent talent and tactics,

Materazzi, De Rossi, Del Piero, and Grosso all scored their

nonetheless. A corner kick awarded to Italy, taken by Del

respective penalties. And thanks to the crossbar hit by

Piero, lobs the ball to Pirlo, who then passes the ball to

Trezeguet, Italy went on to lift up the World Cup.

Fabio Grosso to put Italy up a goal with a minute left in

Each player received a gold medal, as they each,

extra time. The ball almost pierced through the net as all

one by one, kissed the gold cup, knowing they might not

Italian fans went wild. This was quickly followed by

have the opportunity to ever do this again. The captain,

Alessandro Del Piero’s goal on the counterattack, which

Fabio Cannavaro, made his way through the crowd of

ended the game and lead Italy to the final. Many Italians

teammates, stepped up onto the platform, and lifted up

can surely still hear commentator Fabio Caressa in their

the cup for the world to see. Many celebrations followed,

back of their heads yelling to close their suitcases,

several players shaving their heads on the flight back to

because Italy is off to Berlin.

Italy, followed by the presentation of the world champions at Circo Massimo in Rome. The Italian National Team now makes their way into a new era, as they fight to keep their title as the “Campioni Del Mondo”. The best we could do is remember the joyful times, in hopes that we will be able to experience the wonderful sensation once again in our lifetime.


Italian teammates chase Fabio Grosso as he scores in the last minute of extra time against Germany.

The final against France was not the most appealing game of the campaign, and perhaps it was the most agonizing, but it is what lead Italy to lift up the World Cup. An early penalty shot by Zinedine Zidane seemed to crush Italian hopes, but luckily Marco Materazzi’s header was able to keep their hopes alive. The goal scorers of the game, however, were not remembered for their goals, but for the controversy surrounding them after Zidane

Remembering the 2006 World Cup Montrealers share what they were doing the day of the 2006 World Cup final. Diego Rebuli

I watched World Cup final at my house with my cousins. When the game ended, and Italy won, we drove to Little Italy, waving the Italian flag out the windows of the car. When we arrived and finally found parking, we walked down the crowded street, had ice cream, and waited until the celebrations were over to leave. -Marcella Pacitto

The day of the World Cup final, I happened to be at a bridal shower! Nobody really cared about the future bride, and the groom brought in a small television so the guests could watch the game. Everybody was huddled around the screen, and the volume on the TV was horrible, so it was difficult to understand what was happening in the game. When the game ended, everyone ran out into the street to celebrate, but the bride was crying. -Melissa Palumbo

Diego Rebuli

People flock the streets of Little Italy, Montreal as Italy is crowned World Cup champion for the fourth time. I watched Italy vs. France at home. When Italy won, while the rest of my family screamed, my dad and I cried. My sister and brother ran out on the street blowing their horns. The entire Valdes-Brises community was out on the streets celebrating. We then left to Little Italy, and on the way we stopped at a gas station to gas up the car. Here we met France fans who were cheering for Zidane when they saw our Italian flag. I got mad, and was about to tell them off when my dad said it wasn’t worth it, because Italy were the World Cup champions. We then picked up my grandmother, and arrived in Little Italy. We joined in on the celebrations as everyone was honking, and singing We Are The Champions. -Diandra Rossi

Confetti falls from the decorated balconies on St. Laurent.

I arrived in Little Italy in the early morning the day of the final, my dad and I met up with my uncle, and a friend and his son. We found what we thought was a seat to watch the game in the heart of Little Italy, but we were later told that we needed to leave as the seats were already reserved. After pulling some strings, we were able to watch the game standing up in Epoca, a small cafe which had certainly reached its maximum capacity that afternoon. Watching the game in company of such enthusiastic spectators was truly the experience of a lifetime, as well as the after party as thousands filled the streets of Little Italy that day. I felt like I was living a dream as people masked in azzurro surrounded me and the green, white, and red confetti fell from the balconies of the St. Laurent apartments. -Tania Rebuli

What were you doing when Italy won the World Cup in 2006? We want to hear from you! Email us at 3

Which Italian Soccer Player is your Best Match? START! I prefer them with hair

I don’t mind being far away from home most of the time.

I like men with shaved heads. False Yes

I know if I want to spend the rest of my life with someone right away. I don’t mind rushing into marriage.



I want many kids, at least 3. False I find it romantic when a man can speak a variety of languages.




Pick the quality that you prefer in a guy.

I need a man who knows how to cook well.


True Caring Funny


? Daniele De Rossi

Fabio cannavaro

Giuseppe Rossi

A dedicated Roman gladiator on the

Although he is captain of the Italian

Native Jersey boy, Giuseppe

field, a real sweetheart off it.Married in

National Team, and has been considered

Rossi, moved away at the early

June 2006, Daniele has 4 year-old

the best defender in the world, Fabio still

age of 12 to play soccer in Italy.

daughter, Gaia. However, De Rossi is

finds plenty of time to spend with his

Currently living in Spain, this

recently divorced and available after a

family. He is married to his high school

American boy is still living the

bad turn of events!

sweetheart and has 3 children.

single life.

Road to South Africa Qualification for the 2010 World Cup began at the beginning of the 2008 European soccer season directly following the European Cup.

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Gianluigi Buffon at the end of Italy’s match against Bulgaria on September 9, 2009.

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Vincenzo Iaquinta celebrates with captain Fabio Cannavaro after scoring against Ireland on April 1, 2009.

"No team is superior to Italy. I don't want to say that we're better than everyone, but you might say that we're not inferior to any other team." Marcello Lippi, coach, said after qualifying for the 2010 World Cup


Lippi: What to do?

Some of Lippi’s biggest coaching decisions are discussed; the futures of Antonio Cassano and Francesco Totti with the Azzurri. After Roberto Donadoni’s sacking in June 2008, which occured shortly after Italy’s flop in the Euro, Marcello Lippi did not hesitate in accepting his former job as coach of the Italian National Team. He was given two years to construct a team from shambles, and once again lead them all to victory, all while making sure to qualify for the 2010 World Cup. He has succeeded, partially at least, as we have yet to know what the upcoming World Cup will bring, but some fans (or perhaps we should call them critics) cease to be content with his work thus far. One of the major contorversies surrounding Lippi is his refusal to call-up Antonio Cassano. His talent as a second attacker is undeniable, but his foolishness masked this for the majority of his career. Constantly stirring up fights with coaches, and getting suspended for being rude to referees, are not the actions which classify a team player. After coming back to Italy in recent years on return from Spain, many claim he’s changed. He’s formed an unstoppable attack duo with striker Giampaolo Pazzini, been given the role of vice-captain at Sampdoria, as well as settled down with longtime girlfriend, Carolina Marcialis. No one can argue that Cassano’s performances in the past two years at Sampdoria are not worthy of a national team call-up, but Marcello Lippi is not falling for Antonio’s new image. In Lippi’s eyes, Antonio Cassano has no place on the Italian National Team, and in the end, nobody can change his personal taste. Whether this proves to be an advantage or disadvantage is still unknown, but if the World Cup is lost, the media will no doubt blame this on his neglect to call-up Cassano.

since the World Cup final, he made his retirement from the Azzurri official in July 2007, claiming that he wasn’t fit enough to play for both the national team and his club. Now, why on Earth would we be discussing his return? Well, for Italians, the term ‘retirement’ seems to be used quite lightly. Just a few months ago, when asked if he will return to the national team, Totti said to “talk to [him] in April, if Lippi needs [him], [he’ll] be at his disposal.” His wife, Ilary Blasi, has also been urging him to go to South Africa. In a recent interview with magazine Diva e Donna she stated that she'd "love to go to South Africa, and would certainly bring [3 year old] daughter, Chanel, and [4 year old] son, Cristian, along." Getty Images

Francesco Totti and Marcello Lippi in mid-discussion at practice for the 2006 World Cup.


Marcello Lippi gives direction to his squad during a match against Ireland, having finished 1-1. A banner protesting his neglect to call-up Cassano can be seen in the background.

The media has also been hammering Lippi with questions about Francesco Totti’s future with the national team at just about every press conference since his return. One would think; Totti hasn’t played for the Italian National Team

Some will say Totti is too old, and that he never performed when it came to playing for the Azzurri. Even though it is easy for many to recall Toti as the one who spit on his opponent in the 2004 Euro, he played an integral part in the 2006 World Cup squad. He came back early from a severe ankle injury because he was honoured that Lippi expressed his willingness to have him on his squad come June. Although he was not fully fit, Totti made 4 assists, scored a winning penalty kick, and developed much respect for coach Marcello Lippi. If Totti is fit by the time May rolls around, it would be no surprise to see him on the up and coming World Cup squad. The coach is always first to blame when the squad is performing poorly, which is why Marcello Lippi has been under the spotlight for the past year. Although he was praised during the previous World Cup for his coaching decisions, fans are now questioning them. Only time will tell how the Italian squad will shape up, and whether or not Lippi is being rightfully critisized.


Fantasy Soccer How to play: -Pretend you were in the place of Marcello Lippi, leading the Italian National Team to the 2010 World Cup -You have to chose a starting line-up, in a 4-3-3 formation (to be explained), that will earn you the most points duing the course of the World Cup -You are allotted 100 points to buy 11 players to put on your starting line-up

Rules: -Your team must be made by May 16th, before Marcello Lippi announces his World Cup call-ups. Although the players you chose may not necessarily be called-up, you will have neough time to rule out any players with major injuries. -You cannot change your team at any point during the World Cup -You must stick with the 4-3-3 formation, therefore you must chose one goalkeeper, four defensemen, three midfielders, and three forwards

Calculating points: Game action Goal scored by any player on your team Assist made by any player on your team If no goals are conceded in a game, goalkeeper and defensemen playing each receive points With each goal conceded, any goaltender, defenseman, and midfielder playing loses points If Italy wins, every one of your players that was playing during that game receives points If Italy loses, every one of your players that was playing during that game loses points Any player who scores an own goal loses points


+5 per goal +3 per assist +4 per goalkeeper/defenseman ion the field during given game -1 per goalkeeper/defenseman/ midfielder on the field during given game +2 points per player that took part in the winning match -2 points per player that took part in the loss -5 if the player who scored the own goal is in your line-up


Albus Grand Hotel

n a i l a t I r e c c o S y s Fanta alogue Cat Its like shopping with someone else’s credit card, just make sure to get what you need without surpassing the limit.


Gianluigi Buffon

Getty Images

Age: 32 Games played: 100 Club: Juventus

10 Getty Images Claudio Villa

Federico Marchetti Age: 26 Games played: 3 Club: Cagliari

5 BSkyB

Morgan De Sanctis Age: 32 Games played: 3 Club: Napoli Statistics by FIGC. Valid as of March 3rd, 2010.

3 8


Fabio Cannavaro

Getty Images Claudio Villa

Age: 36 Games played: 132 Goals scored: 2 Club: Juventus


Gianluca Zambrotta Age: 32 Games played: 92 Goals scored: 2 Club: A.C. Milan


Getty Images

Getty Images Claudio Villa

Fabio Grosso Age: 32 Games played: 48 Goals scored: 4 Club: Juventus


Giorgio Chiellini


Age: 25 Games played: 28 Goals scored: 2 Club: Juventus

Getty Images



Nicola Legrottaglie


Age: 33 Games played: 16 Goals scored: 1 Club: Juventus

Domenico Criscito


6 Fifa

Age: 23 Games played: 5 Goals scored: 0 Club: Genoa

Alessandro Gamberini Age: 28 Games played: 7 Goals scored: 0 Club: Fiorentina



Davide Santon



Age: 19 Games played: 5 Goals scored: 0 Club: Inter Milan



Getty Images

Andrea Pirlo Age: 30 Games played: 65 Goals scored: 8 Club: A.C. Milan


Gennaro Gattuso


Age: 32 Games played: 71 Goals scored: 1 Club: A.C. Milan

8 BSkyB

Mauro Camoranesi Age: 33 Games played: 53 Goals scored: 5 Club: Juventus

8 Footbo

Angelo Palombo


Age: 28 Games played: 15 Goals scored: 1 Club: Sampdoria


Midfielders BSkyB

Alberto Aquilani Age: 25 Games played: 11 Goals scored: 2 Club: Liverpool

6 AP Photo

Simone Pepe Age: 26 Games played: 13 Goals scored: 0 Club: Udinese

7 BSkyB

Simone Perrotta Age: 32 Games played: 47 Goals scored: 2 Club: A.S. Roma

8 Getty Images Claudio Villa

Daniele De Rossi


Age: 26 Games played: 52 Goals scored: 8 Club: A.S. Roma



Alberto Gilardino Age: 27 Games played: 39 Goals scored: 16 Club: Fiorentina

Antonio Di Natale


8 BSkyB

Age: 32 Games played: 31 Goals scored: 9 Club: Udinese


Giuseppe Rossi

Getty Images Claudio Villa

Age: 23 Games played: 14 Goals scored: 3 Club: Villareal

9 Fifa

Vincenzo Iaquinta


Age: 30 Games played: 35 Goals scored: 5 Club: Juventus



Luca Toni Age: 32 Games played: 47 Goals scored: 16 Club: A.S. Roma



Getty Images

Francesco Totti


Age: 33 Games played: 58 Goals scored: 9 Club: A.S. Roma


Antonio Cassano Age: 27 Games played: 15 Goals scored: 3 Club: Sampdoria

8 14

Coach Name:


The following table should help you in calculating your points for the group stage of the World Cup. If Italy’s continues on in the competition, you can continue using this table or make one that best fits your needs.

Player Name


Match 1 Points

Match 2 Points

Match 3 Points


! s d n e i r fr u o y e ng e l l a h C

Se cuor nd your for ae-azzurr team to lifeti chanc o@live me s e to .ca u w b i the m script n a agaz ion to ine!

See for official results and statistics during the World Cup.


Interview with Alf DeBlasis Telelatino

O u r e x c l u s i v e i n t e r v i e w w i t h I t a l o - C a n a d i a n s p o r t s c a s t e r, Alf DeBlasis. Originally born in Frosinone, Italy, Alf is c u r r e n t l y l i v i n g i n To r o n t o a n d h o s t i n g I t a l i a n c h a m p i o n s h i p s o c c e r o n Te l e l a t i n o . H e a l s o s t a r s i n t e l e v i s i o n s h o w T h e Italian Soccer Fanatics ever y Sunday night. See what he h a s t o s a y a s h e a n s w e r s o u r q u e s t i o n s a b o u t th e I t a l i a n N a t i o n a l Te a m .

What are Italy’s chances of repeating at the 2010 World Cup? It is always difficult to repeat as World Cup champions and there is a reason why it has only been done twice before in the 80-year history of the competition. With many returning champions and the experience they bring, I think Italy still has the pedigree and the ability to reach the final four but in the most recent qualifying matches and friendlies, they haven’t demonstrated the winning attitude that is necessary at World Cup time. I felt very strongly about Italy’s chances of winning the title in 2006. The current squad doesn’t give me the same vibe but a lot can change in six months.

Who do you think Italy’s strongest opponents will be come June 2010? Italy’s strongest opponents will always be the usual suspects including the South American powers Brazil and Argentina, certainly Spain and Germany and maybe even England…

What has changed most about the Italian National Team since 2006? In which areas have they proved to be stronger and/or weaker? I’m not particularly impressed with the Italian midfield; I think it lacks a dynamic, imaginative playmaker with skill and vision. I think some of the new players that Lippi tested in the recent friendlies all have good qualities but none stood out above the rest. Defensively, I think the Juventus backline core of Buffon, Grosso, Cannavaro and Chiellini will be effective although I think Cannavaro will need to be rested often since he is so much older than the others. I like the Genoa duo of Criscito and Bocchetti. I think they both offer pace and versatility and can be solid contributors. Up front, a final decision needs to be

made on Amauri’s status and if he is eligible to play, I think he can be a solid performer. If not, Lippi will need to use the next six months to test some attacking alternatives, including a player like Marco Borriello, who I like very much.

Are you happy about Lippi’s return to the national team? Is he a strong or weak addition to the team? I was pleased to see Lippi return to the National Team but I’ve been disappointed by his general attitude towards the fans and the media which to me seems to border on arrogance. I don’t think he is endearing himself to fans by challenging them after games in which Italy was clearly a disappointment. I understand as a manager you will want to defend your players at all costs but when your side has not performed well, you should not deflect the criticism to the fans or media.

What is your opinion on Lippi’s decision not to call-up Antonio Cassano? Would you do the same if you were put in Lippi’s position? Why or why not? What I’m most upset with Lippi is his continued ignorance of Antonio Cassano who is clearly one of the best playmakers in Europe, let alone Serie “A”, right now. Cassano has all the qualities that are lacking in the team at the moment. His skill is undeniable and I’ve been impressed with the way he has kept his temperament in check, something that has been his undoing in the past. If there is an underlying reason why Cassano is not being selected Lippi should be responsible enough to express it. If Cassano continues to have an exceptional season and continues to be ignored by Lippi, his exclusion will be one of the major stories of World Cup 2010 and will certainly be a distraction to the squad.



Alf De Blasis (far left) stars alongside Gina Bucci (middle) in the TLN Soccer Fanatics every Sunday night at 7PM EST.

What would you think about Francesco Totti’s return to the national team? What are the odds of him returning? Given the form he displayed in his return to Serie “A” from injury just recently, I hope that Francesco Totti is considered for the 2010 squad but I think it’s a long shot that he will be recalled to the team. While I think Lippi admires him and respects his ability and experience, I think Totti may elect not to return to the National Team simply because he no longer has anything to prove. In 2006 he returned from a serious injury to help Italy win the World Cup. While he has been effective when healthy, his career has been interrupted too often by injury and I don’t believe he’ll want to compromise playing out what may be his final contract at Roma.

Which 11 players would be on the starting line-up in the World Cup if you were the coach of the Italian National Team? If I were the Italian manager, this is the starting eleven I would put on the field in the first game of the 2010 World Cup in a 4-3-1-2 formation: BUFFON; SANTON, CANNAVARO, CHIELLINI, GROSSO; PIRLO, DE ROSSI, CRISCITO; CASSANO; PAZZINI, ROSSI

Where were you and what were you doing when Italy won the 2006 World Cup? What did you do to celebrate? I watched Italy’'s 2006 World Cup victory at home and then, to celebrate, I flew to Italy! My family was already there and I joined them and, although I missed the Italian team’s return from Germany, I enjoyed being in the afterglow of the Italian victory as I travelled around the country that summer.

Are there any other teams or specific players you will be rooting for during the World Cup? I would like South Africa to be successful since they are hosting the tournament for the first time and, traditionally, host nations have done reasonably well in the past. I also like to root for Australia simply because they have always been compared to Canada but unlike us, they have built a very strong foundation for soccer in that country. I would very much like to see young players like Brazil’s Diego or France’s Gourcuff or Argentina’s Messi have breakout tournaments.



Italy Paraguay New Zealand Slovakia

Monday, June 14th 2:30 PM EST

Sunday, June 20th 10 AM EST

Italy Paraguay

Italy New Zealand Thursday, June 24th 10 AM EST

Italy Slovakia


Acknowledgements Sources: Alf DeBlasis Quotidiano Il Romanista


A. Andzic E. Falco A. Gagliardi L. Kandella


C. Liu C. Lamontagne

AFP Photo Albus Grand Hotel ASPhoto BSkyB Diego Rebuli Fifa Footbo Getty Images Tania Rebuli Telelatino

M. Pacitto M. Palumbo F. Pietrangelo D. Rossi D. Rebuli Z. Salameh E. Wu

Thirty two teams Seven hundred and thirty six players One thousand four hundred and seventy two hands


One World Cup

Cuore Azzurro: Road of Champions  

A girl's guide to the Italian National Team.

Cuore Azzurro: Road of Champions  

A girl's guide to the Italian National Team.