Italian National Team: What to Expect from the Azzurri in 2013

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Italian National Team: What to Expect from the Azzurri in 2013
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

As the page turns on 2012, soccer fans in Italy can go into the new year confident that their national team had turned a corner in their efforts to rebuild themselves, following the debacle at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

The Azzurri overcame yet another major match-fixing scandal—the second in six years to hit the country—to surprise everyone and make it to the finals at Euro 2012. Though they fell to defending champions Spain 4-0, the match was much closer than the score, and the Italians could walk out with their heads held high.

They immediately started working towards their next objective: qualification for the World Cup in Brazil.

The results so far have been positive: Three wins and a draw out of their first four matches have put the Italians on top of a tricky Group B, four points clear of their nearest opponents.

The year was so successful that despite friendly defeats to the United States, Russia, England and France, the Italians finished the year fourth in the FIFA World Rankings, a place they have maintained through the first month of 2013.

But what should we expect of them through the next 11?  

Let's take a closer look at the coming year for the Azzurri.

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