Italian football is not generally recognized to be one of the most attractive or entertaining competitions to watch. La Liga and the English Premier League are the ones that are regularly highly-rated with supposedly better and more talented performers.
The last time that an Italian club won the UEFA Champions League was 7 years ago back in 2010 when Inter Milan emerged as the champions of Europe and the Italian national football team has also been struggling in the international scene.
Italy was crowned as the best national side in the world in 2006 after they won the FIFA World Cup of that year. However, in the following 2 editions of the worldwide competition, they have significantly struggled trying to even make it past the group stages. To make it to Russia 2018 they have to overcome a play-off against Sweden, with some pundits suggesting in their Betting Tips that the match will be closer than the Italians would like!
During the 2010 edition of the FIFA World Cup, Italy failed to win a single match as they lost 2-3 to Slovakia and drew with Australia as well as Paraguay, this forced them to stay at the very bottom of Group F with only 2 points. They were subsequently eliminated which was a huge blow for the national side which were the champions of the world during that point in time but could not make it past the group stages in a group which was considered to be fairly simple!?
Fast-forward to the 2014 FIFA World Cup and Italy were once again eliminated from the group stages in a group that saw Costa Rica and Uruguay claiming the top qualifying spots while England and Italy were knocked out.
At club level, the only Italian club that has managed to represent Italy has been Juventus as they have consistently been able to reach the UEFA Champions League and perform at a very high-level while every other Italian outfit has struggled to even reach the European competition at a consistent pace.
However, despite all of this, Andrea Pirlo has recently voiced his thoughts concerning all the criticism that Italian football has been receiving in recent times as the 2006 FIFA World Cup said:
"Italian football is not sick. It's true that we have had two bad exits from the World Cup, but in the middle we had two great Euro campaigns with a final and a good showing in France. With a little more luck, we could have gone right to the end in France"
"There is currently a changing of the guard that happened with Germany, France and Spain as well. Once it's over, you will have a more prolific period and start winning again."
Andrea Pirlo has vast experience not only at club level but at the international stage as well after having lifted the 2006 FIFA World Cup and also won the UEFA Champions League with AC Milan on 2 occasions, during the season of 2002-03 and 2006-07.
The veteran midfielder is widely considered to be as the best Italian midfielder of the past decade and he is certain that Italian football will get back on track.
More recently, Italy appear to be performing significantly better as the national side were able to secure the 2nd spot of group G and have a chance to qualify for the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup which is a huge improvement for a national side that have been underperforming so much in recent times.
Italy face Sweden in the play-offs for the approaching 2018 FIFA World Cup in 2 ties, with the 1st one scheduled to be played on November 10 and the 2nd one on November 13.