2006 World Cup: Italy Regains the Golden Ball Trophy

In a country where governments change as often as the seasons and corruption spreads from it’s local hoods up to it’s celebrities and politicians, there is one main stay that supercedes all else, and that is the Azzurri. Even amidst gambling and match fixing allegations in Italy’s premier league, Serie A, the nation comes together to support it’s national team for the World Cup and nothing else matters. It is the rock that all of its countrymen can count on every four years as the Italian National Team always performs well in the World Cup and makes the country proud. This year is no different as Italy has what it takes to take home this years Cup.

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When looking at the roster for this year’s squad, immediate thoughts are of the names that are not there. Names that have represented the country for so many years and so many World Cups. Most notably, Baggio, Maldini, Vieri, and DiBiagio. Instead, new head coach Marcello Lippi has chosen to go a little younger. He has high hopes that this will be a break out tournament for many players. Included in those hopefuls are Luca Toni and Alberto Gilardino 메이저사이트. Toni led the Serie A in goals with 31 which were far and above anyone else. At 6’4″ and with all world player Francesco Totti feeding him balls there is hope that he will be a dark horse winner of the “Golden Boot”, which is awarded to the World Cups leading goal scorer, following in the footsteps of his fellow countryman Toto Schilacci in 1998. One of the criticisms of Italian teams in the past has been the fact that they seem to lack the motivation and fitness come Cup time. That will not be the case this year as Lippi is known for his penchant for hard working players and his ability to motivate them. He is one of the most highly decorated coaches in Serie A history winning 3 League Championships and a Champions League during his time at Juventes. However, with the scandals surrounding him and his former club, this may be his only shot at a World Cup title.

While Italy will always be mentioned amongst the favorites in the World Cup, this year not many actually believe they can pull it off which is a rare perception. The last time there was such little hype surrounding the Azzurri was in 1982. That bodes well for Italian backers as they went on to win the World Cup in 1982 behind the magical feet of Paulo Rossi. Currently, Italy is listed at 10/1 at most sports books meaning that a simple $100 bet would turn into a $1000 if Italy can capture the Golden Ball which is awarded to the winner of the World Cup. They have all the right pieces as they are strong defensively up the middle, as always, with goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and veteran stars Alessandro Nesta and team captain Fabio Cannavaro. Now that they have legitimate goal scorers, this soccer tradition rich nation will take Germany by storm. When betting on this team in the first round: Look for Italy to win outright against Ghana as this is a must win in this year’s group of death. The best line out there for this one is -200 and can be found at various sports books. After that happens, the money play will be on the draw when facing the Czech Republic and the United States as the Italians have always been defensive minded and very smart in terms of what it takes to get through to stage 2 of the World Cup Finals. A win over Ghana and two draws would give them 4 points which would be enough to advance and that is all the first round is about. After this years win, Italy will have 4 World Cop Trophies and will rank second in the world trailing Brazil by one.

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