Italy’s national football team, known as the Azzurri, will be playing in blue during Euro 2024. This choice of color might seem puzzling since blue is not even featured on the Italian flag. So, why does Italy choose to sport blue jerseys when representing their country on the football pitch?

The tradition of wearing blue dates back to the early 1910s when Italy first started playing international matches. Initially, their kit was all-white for a friendly against France in 1910, as the football federation had not yet settled on an official color. However, the color blue became associated with the Italian national team as a way to honor the Italian House of Savoy, the country’s Royal Family at the time of Italy’s unification in 1861.

Following World War II, the future of the Italian Royal Family was put to a referendum, with the majority of Italians voting for a republic over a monarchy in 1946. Despite this significant change in governance, the tradition of the blue kit continued. The official shade of blue used by the Italian national team is known as ‘savoy azure,’ and the team’s nickname, Azzurri, literally translates to ‘Blues.’

Interestingly, in 2004, Italy briefly moved away from their traditional ‘savoy azure’ blue. During Marcelo Lippi’s tenure as coach, Italy unveiled an all-navy blue kit for an away match in Iceland. However, this kit was only worn once and then never seen again, sparking speculation about the reasoning behind the temporary color change.

Despite Italy’s flag being a tricolor of green, white, and red, the blue kit remains a symbol of the country’s footballing heritage and its historical ties to the House of Savoy. So, when you see the Azzurri take to the field in their iconic blue jerseys during Euro 2024, remember that the color choice runs deep in Italian football history.