Wednesday, 9 September 2009

[WC Qual] Italy breeze past Bulgaria

Italy 2-0 BulgariaAn Italy side fielding seven Juventus players in the starting lineup defeated Bulgaria 2-0 in Turin as Marcello Lippi's men closed in on a place at the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals.

Goals from Fabio Grosso and Vincenzo Iaquinta moved Italy four points ahead of the Republic of Ireland, whom they will visit on 10 October needing just a point to be assured of qualification from Group 8.

The world champions started in attacking fashion with full-backs Grosso and Gianluca Zambrotta constantly threatening and it was Grosso who broke the deadlock, firing in a left-footed volley after a wonderful one-two with Andrea Pirlo.

Zambrotta then teed up Iaquinta but his shot was not powerful enough, allowing Stanislav Manolev to clear on the line.

Bulgaria reacted well midway into the first half with Gianluigi Buffon making a superb diving save from Stilian Petrov's volley, but Juventus forward Iaquinta registered just before the break, scoring with a precise shot after a good interchange with attacking partner Alberto Gilardino.

In the second half, Claudio Marchisio went close to scoring the third for the Azzurri while Dimitar Berbatov fired over and Valeri Bojinov struck the outside of the post for the visitors, who trail second-placed Ireland by five points with two games to play.

A draw in Dublin next month will be enough to see Italy qualify for South Africa, but if they are defeated by Giovanni Trapattoni's men, they will need to beat Cyprus in Parma in their final game on 14 October to avoid the play-offs.

Group 8 Results:
Wednesday 9 September
Italy 2-0 Bulgaria
Montenegro 1-1 Cyprus

Group 8 Standings:
[1] ITA - PLD: 08 - PTS: 20
[2] IRE - PLD: 08 - PTS: 16
[3] BUL - PLD: 08 - PTS: 11
[4] CYP - PLD: 08 - PTS: 06
[5] MON - PLD: 08 - PTS: 05
[6] GEO - PLD: 08 - PTS: 03

Remaining Group 8 Fixtures:
Saturday 10 October
Cyprus v Bulgaria
Montenegro v Georgia
Republic of Ireland v Italy
Wednesday 14 October
Bulgaria v Georgia
Italy v Cyprus
Republic of Ireland v Montenegro

Group 1 Results:
Wednesday 9 September
Albania 1-1 Denmark
Hungary 0-1 Portugal
Malta 0-1 Sweden

Group 2 Results:
Wednesday 9 September
Israel 7-0 Luxembourg
Latvia 2-2 Switzerland
Moldova 1-1 Greece

Group 3 Results:
Wednesday 9 September
Czech Republic 7-0 San Marino
Northern Ireland 0-2 Slovakia
Slovenia 3-0 Poland

Group 4 Results:
Wednesday 9 September
Germany 4-0 Azerbaijan
Liechtenstein 1-1 Finland
Wales 1-3 Russia

Group 5 Results:
Wednesday 9 September
Armenia 2-1 Belgium
Bosnia-Herzegovina 1-1 Turkey
Spain 3-0 Estonia

Group 6 Results:
Wednesday 9 September
Andorra 1-3 Kazakhstan
Belarus 0-0 Ukraine
England 5-1 Croatia

Group 7 Results:
Wednesday 9 September
Faroe Islands 2-1 Lithuania
Romania 1-1 Austria
Serbia 1-1 France

Group 9 Results:
Wednesday 9 September
Norway 2-1 FYR Macedonia
Scotland 0-1 Netherlands

World Cup qualifiers so far:
Saturday 15 May 2004
South Africa (Africa 2010 Hosts)
Saturday 6 June 2009
Japan (Asia Round 4 Group 1), Australia (Asia Round 4 Group 1), South Korea (Asia Round 4 Group 2), Netherlands (Europe Group 9)
Wednesday 17 June 2009
North Korea (Asia Round 4 Group 2)
Saturday 5 September 2009
Brazil (South America)
Sunday 6 September 2009
Ghana (Africa Group 4)
Wednesday 9 September 2009
Spain (Europe Group 5), England (Europe Group 6), Paraguay (South America)

Source: UEFA

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