When Italy coach Marcello Lippi announced his provisional squad for this summer’s World Cup in South Africa, there was uproar amongst Italian soccer fans.
Will Italy be able to go all the way to the final, they asked, given the absence of such stars as Francesco Totti and Antonio Cassano?
More controversy is likely to follow with this, our list of the 20 hottest Italian women with whom we’d like to go all the way.
No doubt we will have omitted some of Italy’s finest talent, but like Lippi, we are committed to our squad.
Let’s see if you agree with our choices.
Blonde bombshell Barbara Matera’s career path—featuring beauty contests and a television career—took a surprising turn in 2009, when she was elected as a Member of the European Parliament.
Matera’s candidacy was part of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s much-derided efforts to reshape the image of his political party, The People of Freedom.
Not surprisingly, much of the derision came from Berlusconi’s wife.
Miss Italy 2004, Cristina Chiabotto is a supporter of Turin club Juventus.
She appeared in a television commercial alongside Juve striker Alessandro DelPiero—a bizarre ad in which the pair played cards with some nuns.
Must be something to do with black and white uniforms.
Model Elisabetta Gregoraci became notorious following allegations that she used sexual favors to get a job as a showgirl on television station RAI.
After being fired from the station, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi personally stepped in to hire Gregoraci for his Mediaset channel.
He always seems to take an interest when there is a pretty girl involved.
Gregoraci is married to another older, powerful man: Formula 1 racing manager Flavio Briatore.
Actress and filmmaker Asia Argento is perhaps more famous for being the daughter of Italian horror director Dario Argento.
As a child, the only stories that her father read to Asia were the gruesome scripts for his movies.
Unsurprisingly, she ran away from home at 14, later becoming a controversial filmmaker herself.
Not really the footballers WAG-type, Argento is married to film director Michele Civetta.
Television presenter and model Sara Tommasi once dated Milan striker Filippo Inzaghi.
She finished runner-up in the 1998 Miss Italy beauty contest.
Imagine how hot the winner must have been if the stunning Tommasi could only manage second place.
Alessia Marcuzzi is best known in Italy for presenting the popular Italian version of reality show Big Brother.
She used to date Tottenham Hotspurs goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini, as well as Simone Inzaghi—who obviously shares his older brother Filippo’s preference for the model type.
Sabrina Ferilli is a respected film and television actress who was once voted The Most Loved Woman in a poll of young Italian men.
Ferilli is a huge fan of Serie A club AS Roma. When the team won the Serie A title in 2001, she stripped down to her underwear during the victory parade.
What a day to be a Roma fan.
Miss Italy 2002 Pamela Camassa is an ex-girlfriend of injury-prone Liverpool midfielder Alberto Aquilani.
Prior to her, Aquilani had dated Francesa Chillemi, who took Camassa’s beauty queen crown in 2003.
With all that extracurricular activity going on, it is hardly surprising that Aquilani spends most of his time on the treatment table.
A lot of the women on this list dubiously call themselves actresses, but Martina Stella is different.
She is actually a good actor and was nominated for multiple awards for her debut performance at the age of 17 in L’ultimo bacio.
While not officially a WAG, Stella was once pictured in Italian gossip magazines with married Romanian striker Adrian Mutu, though both denied being involved together.
Another Miss Italy winner and television presenter, Lodo slightly breaks the WAG trend by being engaged to an Argentinean footballer.
Namely, Inter’s Javier Zanetti, who was one of Diego Maradona’s astonishing exclusions from his Argentina World Cup squad.
Actress Valeria Golino’s biggest role was alongside Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman in the Academy Award-winning film Rain Man.
However, some of us will better remember her for having Charlie Sheen frying eggs on her sublime stomach in Hot Shots.
If this list were solely judging beautiful eyes, Golino would be at No. 1.
Where Martina Colombari leads, others follow. Having won the 1991 Miss Italy beauty contest, Colombari became one of Italy’s first true WAGs.
She is married to Alessandro Costacurta, the hard-as-nails former Milan center back.
Colombari no doubt provided comfort to Costacurta when, in 1994, he had the misfortune of being suspended from both the Champions League and World Cup final.
Hollywood actress Rose McGowan was actually born in Florence.
After beginning her career as a child model in Italy, her family moved to the US, where she later became the star of the television series Charmed.
McGowan’s World Cup loyalties may be torn between her native Italy and adopted US.
However, as the daughter of an Irishman, she will most certainly be supporting any team that faces France in South Africa.
Television presenter Manuela Arcuri has dated a number of Italian footballers, including now-retired defender Francesco Coco and Roman football icon Francesco Totti.
Aside from a predilection for soccer players named Francesco, Arcuri is a black belt in karate.
As the daughter of Swedish movie star Ingrid Bergman and Italian director Roberto Rossellini, a career as an actress was always likely for Isabella Rossellini.
Rossellini may be considered a WAG of sorts, thanks to a series of relationships with famous movie directors and stars, including Martin Scorsese, Gary Oldman, and David Lynch.
Stunning model Melissa Satta was actually born in Boston, MA to Italian parents.
However, she certainly counts as Italian, as she is now a presenter on Italian television and currently dates Christian Vieri.
Satta recently featured in the 2010 Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, wearing a body-painted Italian soccer shirt.
Like fellow television babe Manuela Arcuri, Satta is an expert in karate. Now there’s a fight we’d like to see.
Television presenter Ilary Blasi is one WAG who won’t be high-heeling it 'round the boutiques of Cape Town this summer after her husband Francesco Totti was left out of the Italy squad for South Africa.
The striker will have to console himself by watching the games at home with his hot wife by his side. Not a bad way to spend a summer.
Amidst all the young beauties with little talent beyond their good looks, it would be remiss to omit Italy’s grandest star, Sophia Loren.
A global icon of beauty, sex, and style, Loren also won numerous awards, including two Oscars and five Golden Globes.
Lest you write her off as a beauty from the past, at the age of 72 she appeared in the 2007 Pirelli calendar, alongside Naomi Watts and Penelope Cruz.
Italy’s favorite GILF.
There was a time when gorgeous Elisabetta Canalis was known only for her appearances on Italian television and for dating Christian Vieri.
So far, so typical Italian WAG.
But recently Canalis went up-market—like, way up-market—when she appeared on the red carpet at the London Film Festival alongside movie star George Clooney.
Rumor has it that the pair are now engaged.
Quite simply one of the most beautiful women on the planet, Monica Bellucci is unlike most of the actresses-slash-models on this list.
Bellucci's performances in front of a camera involve more than just taking her clothes off—though she does a fair bit of this as well—and she has won awards and critical acclaim for a number of her roles.
Nevertheless the memorably tight red PVC dress she wore in The Matrix Revolutions is still perhaps a career highlight.