How many times have Italy won the Men’s World Cup?

Italy have a rich history at the World Cup, with only Brazil enjoying a better record than the Azzurri on the international stage.

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The Italian Men’s National Team have become almost synonymous with international success and the Azzurri have a phenomenal record at the men’s World Cup, despite a difficult period over the past decade.

Indeed, Italy have competed at 18 different men’s World Cup competitions, and having not entered the inaugural tournament in 1930, have only missed three editions since. However, that includes the two most recent, with Italy suffering the ignominy of failing to qualify in 2018 and 2022.

With a wealth of talent produced across the peninsula over the past century, Italy hold one of the strongest records at the men’s World Cup and only Brazil have lifted the famous trophy on more occasions, but how many times have the Azzurri been crowned world champions?

How many times have Italy been world champions?

Since making their debut, Italy have gone on to become men’s World Cup winners on four occasions, equalling Germany and trailing Brazil‘s record of five triumphs.

Meanwhile, the Azzurri have finished as runners-up twice, in 1970 and 1994 and against Brazil in both finals.

Azzurri’s early successes

Italy made a flying start to life on the World Cup stage, lifting the Jules Rimet trophy on home soil in 1934 against Czechoslovakia, before defending their title with victory over Hungary in Paris in 1938.

The Azzurri were led by the iconic Vittorio Pozzo and had a wealth of talent in their squads over the 1930s, with Serie A‘s greatest-ever goalscorer Silvio Piola leading the line, joined by Inter legend Giuseppe Meazza.

Despite their early triumphs, Italy struggled to make an impact on the global stage in the post-war years and it would take until 1970 for the national team to reach a men’s World Cup final, before finally securing a third title in 1982.

Italy celebrate winning the 1938 FIFA World Cup (@Azzurri)

Italy united in face of scandals

Amidst the backdrop of the 1980 Totonero scandal that rocked Serie A and saw star striker Paolo Rossi banned for two years in the build up to the tournament in Spain.

Having been initially slapped with a three-year ban, Rossi‘s punishment was reduced on appeal and he was able to return in time to be included in Enzo Bearzot‘s squad and fire the Azzurri to victory.

Rossi netted six goals and won the Golden Boot, with his hattrick against overwhelming favourites Brazil giving Italy a 3-2 win in the Group Stage and a place in the semi-final. The Juventus striker scored a brace in the semi-final against Poland, before opening the scoring in the final to give the Azzurri a 3-1 win over West Germany.

Remarkably, it took another domestic scandal before Italy were crowned world champions again, as the Azzurri win the 2006 World Cup as Serie A struggled to deal with Calciopoli.

Marcello Lippi coached a star-studded Italy team that boasted the likes of Francesco Totti, Andrea Pirlo, Gianluigi Buffon, and captain Fabio Cannavaro, as they defeated France in a penalty shootout in Berlin.

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