For Italy, Ferrara was capped 49 times and played 1 match each at the 1990 FIFA World Cup on home soil (where Italy finished in third place after a semi-final penalty shootout defeat to Argentina) and at UEFA Euro 2000 (where Italy reached the final, losing to France on a golden goal). Ferrara took part at Euro 1988, where Italy reached the semi-finals, although he did not appear during the tournament. The same year, he was a member of the Italy team that finished in fourth place at the 1988 Summer Olympics after reaching the semi-final. Ferrara’s brilliance, however, was never truly realised at international level despite his impressive tally of caps. During this time, Italy had a plethora of top-class defenders such as Franco Baresi, Alessandro Costacurta, Mauro Tassotti, Pietro Vierchowod, Riccardo Ferri, Giuseppe Bergomi, Gianluca Pessotto, Paolo Maldini, and in later years, stars like Fabio Cannavaro and Alessandro Nesta. He was also unfortunate with untimely injuries, most notably in the buildup to the 1998 World Cup in France. Ferrara, aged 31 at the time, was at the peak of his career and had just finished three superb seasons at Juventus; during the 1996–97 and 1997–98 seasons, he had established himself as one of the best defenders in Italy, and was a regular in his national side’s line-up. Ferrara, however, suffered a serious injury a few weeks before the 1998 World Cup and missed the tournament; he was replaced by Nesta, who would go on to take his place in Italy’s starting line-up alongside Cannavaro.From this time on, Ferrara was a reserve for Italy. Had Ferrara not suffered this injury, many believe he would have been one of the stars of France 1998, as he was at the peak of his career. For this reason, he is not so well known outside his native country, but within Italy he is regarded as yet another illustrious defender in a long line of world class Italian defenders.