Fireworks exploded and car horns blared in Milan and Rome as excited Italians celebrated their nation’s World Cup victory in Germany in July. Led by coach Marcello Lippi, Italy beat France in a penalty shootout in Berlin after scores were tied 1-1 in the final. It was Italy’s fourth FIFA World Cup title - their first for 24 years
Italy progressed through the tournament with a strong defence and a balanced attack. They only conceded two goals - an own goal and a penalty kick - and ten different players scored their 12 goals.
Their best win was a dramatic 2-0 victory over hosts Germany in the semi-finals, with goals from Fabio Grosso and Alessandro Del Piero in the last two minutes of extra time.
Captain Fabio Cannavaro, who was presented with the FIFA World Cup on the night of his 100th appearance for Italy, was named FIFA World Player of the Year and European Footballer of the Year as a result of his performances. During the tournament he played immaculately and did not receive a single yellow or red card in 690 minutes.
Seven players - Gianluigi Buffon, Fabio Cannavaro, Gennaro Gattuso, Andrea Pirlo, Luca Toni, Francesco Totti and Gianluca Zambrotta - were named to the 23-man World Cup All Star Team. Buffon also won the Lev Yashin Award, given to the best goalkeeper of the tournament.