Wednesday, 10 September 2008

[WC Qual] De Rossi double fires Italy past Georgia

Italy 2-0 GeorgiaWorld champions Italy endured an uncomfortable evening against Georgia before finally emerging with a 2-0 victory in their second FIFA World Cup Group 8 qualifier in Udine.

After a hard-fought 2-1 win over Cyprus on Saturday, this proved another awkward assignment for the Azzurri, who had Daniele De Rossi to thank for the two goals that maintained their winning start.

De Rossi broke the deadlock with a wonderful left-footed shot from 25 metres which found the top left corner of Giorgi Loria's net after 17 minutes, and a minute from the end the Roma midfielder made it two with a precise low shot from the right after being played in by second-half substitute Alessandro Del Piero.

Italy started well and local hero Antonio Di Natale, who had scored both goals against Cyprus, sent a right-footed shot just wide from a Luca Toni pass.

After De Rossi's opening strike, however, Georgia had a golden opportunity to equalise in the 26th minute when Palermo's 18-year-old Levan Mchedlidze found space on the left and set up Levan Kenia at the far post. However, the young forward failed to connect with his first attempt and then hit a prostrate Andrea Pirlo with his follow-up.

With Hector Cuper's visitors defending impressively, the Azzurri were often reduced to aiming long balls at Toni, prompting coach Marcello Lippi to change his attacking line, switching Di Natale with Del Piero and then bringing on Vincenzo Iaquinta for Toni.

The move almost paid dividends when Del Piero found space in the penalty box but his shot flashed over the bar. However, the Juventus captain redeemed himself when he set up De Rossi to confirm Italy's win, and Georgia's second defeat in five days.

Group 8 Results:
Wednesday 10 September
Italy 2-0 Georgia
Montenegro 0-0 Rep of Ireland

Group 8 Standings:
[1] ITA - PLD: 02 - PTS: 06
[2] IRE - PLD: 02 - PTS: 04
[3] MON - PLD: 02 - PTS: 02
[4] BUL - PLD: 01 - PTS: 01
[5] CYP - PLD: 01 - PTS: 00
[6] GEO - PLD: 02 - PTS: 00

Group 8 Fixtures:
Saturday 11 October
Georgia v Cyprus
Bulgaria v Italy
Wednesday 15 October
Georgia v Bulgaria
Ireland v Cyprus
Italy v Montenegro

Group 1 Results:
Wednesday 10 September
Albania 3-0 Malta
Portugal 2-3 Denmark
Sweden 2-1 Hungary

Group 2 Results:
Wednesday 10 September
Latvia 0-2 Greece
Moldova 1-2 Israel
Switzerland 1-2 Luxembourg

Group 3 Results:
Wednesday 10 September
Northern Ireland 0-0 Czech Republic
San Marino 0-2 Poland
Slovenia 2-1 Slovakia

Group 4 Results:
Wednesday 10 September
Azerbaijan 0-0 Liechtenstein
Finland 3-3 Germany
Russia 2-1 Wales

Group 5 Results:
Wednesday 10 September
Bosnia-Herzegovina 7-0 Estonia
Spain 4-0 Armenia
Turkey 1-1 Belgium

Group 6 Results:
Wednesday 10 September
Andorra 1-3 Belarus
Croatia 1-4 England
Kazakhstan 1-3 Ukraine

Group 7 Results:
Wednesday 10 September
Faroe Islands 0-1 Romania
France 2-1 Serbia
Lithuania 2-0 Austria

Group 9 Results:
Wednesday 10 September
Iceland 1-2 Scotland
Macedonia 1-2 Netherlands

Source: UEFA

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