Coach: Marcello Lippi

Key Player: Daniele De Rossi

World Ranking: 5

World Cup Record: 16 World appearances – Winners in 1934. 1938, 1982 & 2006

Group F Schedule:
14 June – Italy v Paraguay
20 June – Italy v New Zealand
24 June – Slovakia v Italy

World Cup winner Lippi has struggled to blend the experience of his 2006-winning side with youthful exuberance and few fans genuinely believe they can successfully defend their title.

Forwards Antonio Cassano and Mario Balotelli have been continually overlooked because of their 'bad boy' images while a reliance on Juventus players after their poor season could dog Lippi, although he has refused to recall Alessandro Del Piero.

Daniele De Rossi has come of age since 2006 and after AS Roma's stunning season the dynamic midfielder will be on a high with tackles and outrageous long shots bound to be flying in.

Provisional Squad:

Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Morgan De Sanctis (Napoli), Federico Marchetti (Cagliari), Salvatore Sirigu (Palermo)

Defenders: Salvatore Bocchetti (Genoa), Leonardo Bonucci (Bari), Fabio Cannavaro (Juventus), Mattia Cassani (Palermo), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Domenico Criscito (Genoa), Christian Maggio (Napoli), Gianluca Zambrotta (AC Milan)

Midfielders: Mauro Camoranesi (Juventus), Andrea Cossu (Cagliari), Daniele De Rossi (AS Roma), Gennaro Gattuso (AC Milan), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Riccardo Montolivo (Fiorentina), Angelo Palombo (Sampdoria), Simone Pepe (Udinese), Andrea Pirlo (AC Milan)

Forwards: Marco Borriello (AC Milan), Antonio Di Natale (Udinese), Alberto Gilardino (Fiorentina), Vincenzo Iaquinta (Juventus), Giampaolo Pazzini (Sampdoria), Fabio Quagliarella (Napoli), Giuseppe Rossi (Villarreal/ESP)