Saturday, 11 October 2008

[WC Qual] Toothless Italy draw in Bulgaria

Bulgaria 0-0 ItalyWorld champions Italy were held to a goalless draw by Bulgaria after a less-than-impressive performance in Sofia.

The visitors, who arrived in Bulgaria on the back of victories in their opening two Group 8 games and fielded six World Cup winners and the debut of Simone Pepe, never showed enough threat to break down a well-organised and resilient home defence.

Marcello Lippi's side had most of the possession on the night but hardly created any chances to trouble the hosts.

Bulgaria coach Plamen Markov was clearly aiming for a draw having stationed Stilian Petrov and Chavdar Yankov in front of the back four. Their plans appeared to be heading for trouble after 35 minutes, though, when left-back Lucio Wagner picked up an injury and had to be replaced by inexperienced youngster Ivan Ivanov.

Lippi tried to change his team's fortunes with the introductions of Giuseppe Rossi for the first time and Simone Perrotta in place of Antonio Di Natale and Riccardo Montolivo, yet it made little difference in the last 20 minutes as Bulgaria held on for a point.

The home side remained organised and only had to deal with danger from the Azzurri when first Alberto Gilardino, who was then replaced by Luca Toni, drove just wide of the far post after some good play with Rossi and then Daniele De Rossi blasted a long-range attempt narrowly over.

Lippi's side will play Montenegro in Lecce on Wednesday night.

Group 8 Results:
Saturday 11 October
Georgia 1-1 Cyprus
Bulgaria 0-0 Italy

Group 8 Standings:
[1] ITA - PLD: 03 - PTS: 07
[2] IRE - PLD: 02 - PTS: 04
[3] BUL - PLD: 02 - PTS: 02
[4] MON - PLD: 02 - PTS: 02
[5] CYP - PLD: 02 - PTS: 01
[6] GEO - PLD: 03 - PTS: 01

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

Group 1 Results:
Saturday 11 October
Denmark 3-0 Malta
Hungary 2-0 Albania
Sweden 0-0 Portugal

Group 2 Results:
Saturday 11 October
Greece 3-0 Moldova
Luxembourg 1-3 Israel
Switzerland 2-1 Latvia

Group 3 Results:
Saturday 11 October
Poland 2-1 Czech Republic
San Marino 1-3 Slovakia
Slovenia 2-0 Northern Ireland

Group 4 Results:
Saturday 11 October
Finland 1-0 Azerbaijan
Germany 2-1 Russia
Wales 2-0 Liechtenstein

Group 5 Results:
Saturday 11 October
Belgium 2-0 Armenia
Estonia 0-3 Spain
Turkey 2-1 Bosnia-Herzegovina

Group 6 Results:
Saturday 11 October
England 5-1 Kazakhstan
Ukraine 0-0 Croatia

Group 7 Results:
Saturday 11 October
Faroe Islands 1-1 Austria
Romania 2-2 France
Serbia 3-0 Lithuania

Group 9 Results:
Saturday 11 October
Netherlands 2-0 Iceland
Scotland 0-0 Norway

Source: UEFA

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