Across the globe, more than 25 million kids play soccer every year. Although the U.S. lovingly calls the sport “soccer,” the rich tradition of “football” in Europe is fascinating; the sport is a national passion for many countries.
You’d be hard pressed to find a country more passionate and enthusiastic about soccer than our friends over in Italy. Soccer in Italy is more than just a sport: it’s a way of life. Continue reading to learn some interesting facts about the history of Italian soccer and why Italian sports fans are some of the most dedicated in the world.
Soccer is by far the most popular sport in Italy: more than 4,363,000 people play every year. The culture and history of Italian soccer (or football, as they call it) traces back hundreds of years. Italy’s national soccer association, known as the Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio or the FIGC, was formed in 1898. Today, it remains a part of the Union of European Football Association.
Although the Italian colors are red, white, and green, the national team wears blue and white uniforms emblazoned with their country’s flag, proudly displaying ITALIA across the chest. Due to their famous blue uniforms, the team earned the national nickname of “Squadra Azzurra”, which literally translates to “Blue Squad.“
An annual favorite at the World Cup, the Italian team is arguably one of the best in the tournament year after year. They boast four World Cup titles, taking home the gold in 1934, 1938, 1982 and 2006. The Squadra Azzurra is quite prestigious; in fact, many people come from across the world for a chance to play soccer in Italy. Even the best players dream of a spot on the famed national team. They have won the second-most amount of World Cup titles, just behind Brazil, which has won an impressive five times.
Serie A is the top professional soccer league in Italy, consisting of the country’s 20 best teams. The most dominant team is Juventus, hailing from Turin, which has won the league title an astonishing 27 times since the FIGC first formed. The team also has a longstanding rivalry with the second-best team, Inter from Milan. Inter holds 18 league titles and is often seen as Juventus’s top competition.
The spirit of soccer in Italy is strong, passionate, and never-failing. Italians view soccer as a tradition that is forever in their hearts. They see the players as national heroes, who bring both glory and fame back to the country with every win. Attend just one soccer game in Italy and you’ll immediately feel the electric energy emanating from the crowd. Italians truly love soccer.