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The lowdown on Italy
Around the Academy:

The Tafia Mafia - Gary Speed, Mark Delaney, Ryan Giggs and Craig Bellamy
Forget the Mafia - meet the Tafia
Mamma Mia!

Wales stunned the Azzurri with a wonderful 2-1 win at the Millennium Stadium before the Italians gained sweet revenge with a four goal haul in the return match.

But while you may know your Delaney from your Del Piero, do you know your Margherita from your Mona Lisa?

Or your spaghetti from your conchiglie?

Let us fill you in.

Benvenuti to the Sport Academy's guide to Italy!


Where is Italy?
Situated on the coast of southern Europe, Italy is a peninsula, which means it's surrounded by sea on three sides.

To the north, it shares boundaries with France, Austria and Switzerland.

Because of its distinctive shape, Italy is known as 'The Boot'.

It has a population of 57.5 million and the capital city is Rome.

What's the weather like?
One of the world's largest mountain ranges - the Alps - stretches into northern Italy.

Here, snow can start falling as early as September - making for ideal skiing conditions.

The weather is hotter and drier towards the south where Italy extends into the Meditteranean sea, almost reaching the coast of Africa.

Is footy the national sport?
Is the Pope a Catholic!

Italians eat, drink and sleep football.

They won the World Cup in 1982 and hosted the World Cup finals in 1990.

But they also love eating pizza, right?
They sure do!

The most popular type of pizza in Italy is the Margherita.

The toppings - a type of herb called basil, tomatoes and mozzarella cheese - represent the green, red and white of the Italian flag.

This combination was first cooked up in honour of Italy's Queen Margherita when she visited Naples in 1889.

Get your teeth into 10 more Italian facts by clicking on the links above.


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The Welsh test
Italian lowdown
Italian fab facts
Finnish lowdown
Finnish facts
Azerbaijan lowdown
Crazy Azeri facts
Serbia and Montenegro
Serbia and Montenegro facts

Battle of the Brits
England
Northern Ireland
Scotland
Wales

Famous Italians
Italian explorer Christopher Columbus discovered the world was round
Guglielmo Marconi invented the radio
Italian cartoonist Joseph Barbera teamed up with William Hanna to create Tom and Jerry, the Flintstones and Yogi Bear among others.
American boxing legend Rocky Marciano was of Italian extraction.
Actors Robert De Niro, Danny De Vito, Leonardo Di Caprio, Sylvester Stallone and John Travolta all have Italian blood.


FROM THE BBC >>
:: Be like Giggs and opt for Wales
:: Totti out of Italy squad
:: Wales unchanged for Italy
:: Charles: Wales must believe

INTERNET LINKS >>
:: The Football Association of Wales
:: Italy Football Association

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