Saturday 12 June marks the start of Euro 2004 football championships in Portugal. Italy, under coach Giovanni Trapattoni, has assembled the countrys best squad in a long time.

Del Piero and Vieri with Cassano should provide the much needed fire power in attack that has been lacking for a long time, and in the midfield Totti, Gattuso, Zanetti and Pirlo will provide the offensive and defensive options. The defence, the bedrock of the Italian game, is solid with Buffon between the posts and the experienced trio of Maldini, Nesta and Cannavaro giving full cover.

Judging by past form and recent matches, the Azzuri, who havent brought any major trophies home for the last 22 years, should have no problem overcoming the Danes, Swedes and Bulgarians in their group to advance to the knock-out stage. The first fixture is against Denmark on Monday 14 June at 18.00 (Italian time).