Euro 2012 Countdown: Italy Capable of Being a Major Player at Euros

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Euro 2012 Countdown: Italy Capable of Being a Major Player at Euros
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Italy have been drawn in Group C at the Euro 2012 finals in Poland/Ukraine and will open their campaign with a game against defending champions Spain on the 10th June in Gdansk.

It probably isn’t the best start as defeat could seriously put them on the back foot and hamper their chances of reaching the knockout stages, particularly as they have to negotiate two potential "banana skins" in the shape of the Republic of Ireland and Croatia.

That said, the Azzurri reached for the finals after an exceptional qualifying campaign which saw them go undefeated in the 10 games played, winning eight and drawing just two. They also found the net 20 times in qualifying but even more impressive was the fact that they only conceded twice in the same period.

During the course of 2011, they also played Spain in a "friendly," winning 2-1 thanks to a late winner courtesy of Alberto Aquilani. However, in June last year, they played Ireland in another "friendly" in Belgium where they lost 2-0. Another defeat in their latest warm-up match, this time going down 1-0 against the United States last month, further illustrates the inconsistencies of the Italian national side.

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