EURO 2016: Five things you really should know about Italy

Italy are rather a curate’s egg of a national team. The Azzurri, although one of the most famed international sides on the circuit, have a propensity for blowing up in big tournaments, so it’s genuinely difficult to predict just what will happen.

Only four years ago Italy met Spain in the final of the EUROs, but a mere 24 months before that they had been knocked out of the World Cup at the group stage, in a pool that included Slovakia, New Zealand and Paraguay – they actually finished bottom, too.

Alas, the much-decorated side are never a team that can be overlooked, and at EURO 2016 it would take a fool to write them off. Granted, this 23-man squad is not as high on quality as past renditions, but in Gianluigi Buffon, Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, Antonio Conte has a defensive set-up that is the envy of around 90% of his fellow managers in France.

Napoli’s Lorenzo Insigne will provide the guile and pace in the final third, but the loss of Paris Saint-Germain’s Marco Verratti to injury is a blow.

Here are FIVE things you should know abut Italy ahead of EURO 2016…

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