Preview: Italy's Group E is what you might call "the group of death," with three world powers Italy, Czech Republic and USA competing for two second round slots.  Nevertheless, Italy should advance, and are considered one of the possible champions.  Italy is one of the the more storied teams in the tournament, as the Azzuri have 3 World Cups to their name.

A lot of the old names are back, goalkeeper Buffon, defenders Nesta, Cannavaro, and Matarazzi, as well as forwards Del Piero, Inzaghi and Totti.  Joining them is perhaps the most exciting player in Italian football this year, Luca Toni.  The Fiorentina forward led the Seria A with 31 goals, and scored several important in World Cup qualifiers.  Italian football has always been known for it's defense, and this year's squad comes with no shortage of depth and firepower in the offensive game.  What they did to Germany in a 4-1 thumping earlier this year could be a preview of things to come this summer.

Result: Make that 4 World Cups!  The Azzuri looked somewhat shaky in the early goings, especially against the United States and Australia, but Italy has been a notorious slow starter throughout World Cup history.  A thrilling last-minute victory over Germany pitted the Italians against France, and the rest is history.   

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