Italy were the reigning world champions it had been 12 years since they won the title and their new generation of players had been decimated with the Superga air disaster in May 1949 in which almost the entire Torino football team, the backbone of the national side, was killed. The loss of ten of the players of Torino (the winners of the previous five Serie A titles) out of the eleven constituting the initial line-up for the national team. In the event, Italy did
participate but they traveled to Rio de Janeiro by sea. With nothing to play for but pride, Italy completed the tournament a second place finish in the group.
For the first time in the World Cup, players' shirts had team numbers (1-11) on the back. Only the Italy blue shirts only was worn on the whole tournament. The number 5 jersey worn by Carlo Parola (Juventus FC).