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22-Francesco Toldo (Inter Milan)
Born: 02.12.71

Toldo joined Inter Milan from Fiorentina last summer for 18million, afterbeing part-owned by AC Milan for a number of years. Number one at Euro 2000, and could take the shirt back, as he was the most impressive goalkeeper in Holland and Belgium. Tall, dominant in the area, and more consistant than Buffon.

1-Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus)

Moved for 32.6million, a world record fee for a goalkeeper, from Parma last summer. Wrestled number one shirt from Toldo last season. Spectacular and flamboyant, if occasionally error-prone.

12-Christian Abbiati (AC Milan)
Born: 08.07.77

Youngest of a number of goalkeepers trailing in the wake of the top two.Italy's Olympic keeper in Sydney, Abbiati lacks the consistency to be ahead of either Buffon or Toldo. Became number one at AC Milan after Dida's suspension and the aging Sebastiano Rossi's form slump.


3-Paolo Maldini (AC Milan)
Born: 26.06.68

Once tagged the best defender in the world, Maldini is still a lynchpin of the Italy team, but will retire from the international game after Korea-Japan. A one-club man, he came to prominence in the all-conquering Milan team of the late 1980s. Son of Paraguay coach Cesare, who has coached him at AC Milan and Italy. Moved from left-back to central defence as both Milan and Italy changed formations in the 1990s.

13-Alessandro Nesta (Lazio)
Born: 19.03.76

Nesta is Lazio's captain and defensive rock. He became an integral part of the Italy defence alongside Maldini and Cannavaro. He is expected to take over the Italy captaincy after Maldini's retirement.

5-Fabio Cannavaro (Parma)
Born: 13.09.73

Cannavaro is the sweeper between Nesta and Maldini. He has been long coveted by Europe's top clubs but has spent the bulk of his career with Parma. Starred in Serie A despite the Gialloblu's poor season.

2-Christian Panucci (AS Roma)
Born 12.04.73

Roma coach Fabio Capello's faith in his former Milan right back has savedhisWorld Cup chances. Once an Italy regular, his career went off the rails after fall-outs at Real Madrid, Inter Milan, Chelsea and Monaco, from where Capellotook him on loan. He has found himself back in the Azzurri side at left-back, and his versatility, if not his temperament, has put him on the plane east.

15-Mark Iuliano (Juventus)
Born: 12.08.73

Iuliano makes up the Juve backline with Ciro Ferrara and France's Lilian Thuram. A consistent, if unspectacular stopper, he is used by Trapattoni as cover for his first three. He had to bide his time, but has become an essential part of the Juve squad.

23-Marco Materazzi (Inter Milan)
Born: 19.08.73

Materazzi is an excellent centre half, strong in the air and tackling, andalso a penalty expert. The son of former Perugia and Sporting Lisbon coachGiuseppe, he has experience of football overseas after a year with Premiership side Everton.

4-Francesco Coco (Barcelona)
Born: 08.01.77

The left-wing back is currently on loan at Barcelona after then AC Milan coach Fatih Terim off-loaded him last summer. But Carlo Ancelotti is desperate to take him back, as Coco is in and out of the Barca side, but pacy and an accurate crosser.


14-Luigi di Biagio (Inter Milan)
Born: 03.06.71

Di Biagio was responsible for Italy's exit at the last World Cup, when hefailed from the spot with the Azzurri's fifth kick in a penalty shoot-outagainst hosts France. Now at Inter Milan, who he joined from Roma in 1999, Di Biagio has developed a discipline problem and was booked 18 times in 42 matches in the season just ended.

6-Cristiano Zanetti (Inter Milan)
Born: 14.04.77

A relative newcomer to the international scene, Zanetti made his debut lastNovember in the draw with Japan. Like Inter club-mate Di Biagio, hecollected 18 bookings in the 2001-02 season. Began his career with Fiorentina and has also played two seasons for Roma.

11-Cristiano Doni (Atalanta)
Born: 01.04.73

Doni has enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2001-2002. A goalscoring midfielder,he can fill the berth left by Roberto Baggio's injury and is primarily left-sided. He is expected to leave the unfashionable Bergamo side for a major team after World Cup. He has challenged Italy's top strikers in the scoring charts this term.

8-Gennaro Gattuso (AC Milan)
Born: 09.01.78

uso is a gutsy wing-back, currently playing for AC Milan. Formerly withRangers in Scotland and Perugia. Scored winner in 1-0 win over England last year.

19-Gianluca Zambrotta (Juventus)

A wing-back who came to prominence with southerners Bari. Zambrotta plays on either flank, and is as close to an old-fashioned winger as there is in the squad.

17-Damiano Tomassi (AS Roma)
Born: 17.05.74

A stoic presence in the Roma midfield. Quiet off the field, and strongly religious and humanitarian. Tomassi does the running for the more expressive players, but has an excellent shot. Formerly with Verona.

16-Angelo di Livio (Fiorentina)
Born: 26.07.66

Veteran former Juventus man and another jack-of-all-trades. Captain of troubled Fiorentina, but remained a calming presence under turbulent circumstances. Can play almost anywhere on the field.


10-Francesco Totti (AS Roma)
Born: 27.09.76

Totti has taken the playmaker role from Alessandro del Piero. A creative, forward-thinking link man, he can play across midfield or in attack. He is the injury-prone, but influential, captain of last season's league champions Roma.

21-Christian Vieri (Inter Milan)
Born: 12.07.73

Much-travelled forward and the Azzurri's main targetman. Raised in Australia, and son of former Serie A forward Roberto `Bobby' Vieri. Impressive strike rate for Italy, excellent in the air and brilliant finisher. Troubled by injury in recent years, but scored nearly a goal a game this season.

7-Alessandro del Piero (Juventus)
Born: 09.11.74

Fulcrum of Juventus attack. Would have won more caps if not for injury. Teen prodigy, but surpassed in recent seasons by Totti. Can play up front or as left winger. Unlikely to start.

9-Filippo Inzaghi (AC Milan)
Born: 09.08.73

Close friend of Vieri and first-choice strike partner. Small and frail-looking, but pacy and another superlative finisher. Joined AC Milan from Juventus. His brother Simone, also an Italy international, plays for Lazio.

20-Vincenzo Montella (AS Roma)
Born: 18.06.74

Injury-prone forward but possibly the best finisher in Italy. Former Sampdoria and Genoa man, his goals led Roma to the 2001 title. Edges out plethora of strikers to play alongside Gabriel Batistuta in Giallorossi first XI.

18-Marco Delvecchio (AS Roma)
Born: 07.04.73

Scored the first goal in the European Championship final against France in 2000. Former Inter Milan striker, dependable without being prolific