Italy's greatest defenders
We take a look at the stars of Italy's rearguard.
Last Updated: 31/05/10 9:14am
Allemandi was an exciting defender who loved to get forward. Indeed, he boasted impressive stamina, allowing him to race from one end of the pitch to the other without being detrimental to his game. Allemandi was a key member of Italy's World Cup winning side at the 1934 tournament hosted on homesoil.
Terrific sweeper Baresi played at two World Cup finals, with his appearances on the world stage somewhat restricted by the fierce competition for places. Nonetheless, he helped his nation claim third in 1990 before the Azzurri finished as runners-up four years later when a superb defensive display from Baresi forced the match to penalties, only for his team to lose to Brazil.
Benarrivo was a key member of Italy's side which finished as runners-up at the 1994 World Cup. He operated at right-back at the tournament and helped propel his side to the final, which they lost on penalties to Brazil.
Moustachioed stopper Bergomi is regarded as one of football's finest ever centre-backs. He played at four separate World Cup finals. And in 1982 he got his hands on the sport's grandest prize as he helped his team see off the Germans in the final.
Burgnich operated as a sweeper or at right-back for the Azzurri. He played at three separate World Cup tournaments but never managed to lift the illustrious trophy. The closest he came was in 1970 when his nation were defeated by a great Brazilian side. Burgnich also boasts a World Cup goal to his name having scored in a 4-3 win over the Germans.
Cabrini is considered one of Italy's greatest ever left-backs. The impressive defender played at three World Cup tournaments, recording 18 appearances in total and helped his side achieve glory in 1982. At said competition, Cabrini netted his only World Cup goal in the 2-1 win over Argentina.
The incredibly gifted centre-back Cannavaro captained his nation to World Cup glory in 2006 following some inspirational displays at the heart of Italy's defence. Indeed, in the same year he was named World Player of the Year. He is the country's most capped player of all time.
Collovati was a brilliant centre-back during his heyday and he got his hands on the World Cup trophy in 1982. The stopper, who recorded 50 caps for his nation, helped ensure the Azzurri marched to the final as they saw off the Germans 3-1. Collovati also made one appearance at the tournament four years later.
Centre-back Gentile is considered to be one of the toughest defenders to have ever graced the game. He was a sensational defender during his prime who made his World Cup bow in 1978. After an indifferent tournament for Italy, Gentile returned to the world stage four years later and helped his side claim glory in Spain.
Grosso is an unquestionable World Cup hero for Italy. The left-back scored in the 2006 World Cup semi-final against Germany to send the Azzurri through to the final. And then in the showpiece, Gross held his nerve to net the winning penalty versus France, securing success for his country.
Facchetti was a defender who could play at centre-back or left-back. He boasted fine tackling ability and superb stamina. Facchetti featured in 12 World Cup matches, featuring in three tournaments, starting in 1966. He suffered heartache in 1970 when his nation were beaten by Brazil in the final.
Impressive centre-back Ferri played 45 times for his country, with six of those appearances coming at the 1990 World Cup. Indeed, the stopper was a key component of Italy's team which marched to the semi-finals only to be beaten by Argentina on penalties.
Maldini holds the Italian record for the most World Cup appearances, having featured in a total of 23 matches. Indeed, the brilliant stopper played at four straight tournaments, starting in 1990. However, Maldini never got to lift the trophy, coming closest when his team lost in the 1994 final on penalties against Brazil.
Impressive stopper Monzeglio was a key player of Italy's first ever World Cup success in 1934 as he helped keep things tight at the back on their route to glory. He also made one appearance at the tournament four years later in the first round win over Norway.
So impressive were Rava's displays at the Italy's successful World Cup 1938 campaign that he was named in the Team of the Tournament. The stopper, who earned 30 caps for his nations, played four times at the aforementioned competition as the Azzurri claimed the title.
Italian sweeper Scirea is rightly considered one of the greatest defenders of all-time. The stopper boasted incredible reading of the game, demonstrated during his 78 caps for his nation. He played at three World Cup finals, claiming football's ultimate prize at the 1982 tournament.
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