The World Cup is one of the most popular sporting events since it is viewed among fans from all across the globe. It is estimated that 3.2 billion people worldwide watched the 2010 World Cup—that makes up 46% of the earth’s population! Every four years the World Cup provides riveting entertainment to soccer fans. The first World Cup took place in July of 1930 in Uruguay and, since then, there have been 19 exciting events. The World Cup usually lasts about a month (from June to July) and starts out with 32 teams that are narrowed down to two finalists and, finally, a victor.
The World Cup is a truly international event and it is a good opportunity for youngsters to learn about other people and places while they watch the games. The World Cup is an especially good opportunity to memorize the flags of other nations and listen to some interesting facts about players and countries from the announcers.
Italy have won the World Cup four times—making them the second most decorated nation in World Cup history (Brazil have won the most Cups—five). Needless to say, most Italians are excitedly awaiting the results of the current World Cup!
Below is a list of facts about Italy during the World Cup:
• Although the Italian flag is green, white and red the Italian team plays in blue. Hence, they are known as the “Azzurri” which is the Italian word for “blue.”
• Historically, Italy has played a strong, team-oriented and defensive style which was nicknamed “catenaccio” which means “bolted door.”
• In 2014, the Italian team is being led up front by the talented striker Mario Balotelli (who is actually of African descent and was adopted as a baby by Italian parents).
• Italy has an excellent World Cup record. They won the final in 1934, 1938, 1982, and 2006. They have also finished second twice, in 1970 and 1994.