Monday, 8 March 2010

Italy open 2012 qualifying with Estonia trip

Italy will begin their 2012 UEFA European Championship qualifying campaign in Tallinn with an away game against Estonia on Friday 3 September, just six days after the new Serie A season kicks off.

UEFA Euro 2012The fixture schedule for the qualifying phase of the 2012 tournament was agreed at a meeting in Belgrade today, with Italian Football Federation (FIGC) President Giancarlo Abete and national team coach Marcello Lippi representing Italy at the negotiations.

The Azzurri, who were drawn in a tricky qualifying Group C in February
[+], will welcome the Faroe Islands in their second game on 7 September before a crucial double-header in October, when they make the trip to Northern Ireland and host Serbia.

The first competitive game in 2011 will see Italy travelling to neighbours Slovenia on 25 or 26 March, while they conclude qualifying with a trip to Serbia on 7 October and a home match with Northern Ireland on 11 October, 2011.

Most of the weekend games have been scheduled for Friday nights to provide preparation time for the midweek games that follow, which will now take place on Tuesdays as new FIFA and UEFA rules state.

"The calendar was the result of mediation work, an expression of balance," Abete commented after the meeting. "Nobody of course can say they are one hundred percent happy, but we were all pleased to have avoided the (automatic computer) draw, which is something very random.

"Faroe Islands and Estonia had climatic requirements, while Northern Ireland have stadium restructuring issues. In the end we found a satisfactory solution for everyone."

Altogether 51 European countries will battle for the 14 places available alongside the co-hosts Poland and Ukraine for the final tournament, which runs from 8 June to 1 July in the summer of 2012.

The road to the finals officially kicks off in August through to October 2011 with the nine group winners and the runner-up with the best record against the top five in their pool qualifying directly.

The eight remaining runners-up contest two-legged play-off matches in November 2011 to decide the final four names.

UEFA Euro 2012 - Qualifying Group C
Wednesday 11 August 2010
Estonia v Faroe Islands
Friday 3 September 2010
Estonia v Italy
Faroe Islands v Serbia
Slovenia v Northern Ireland
Tuesday 7 September 2010
Italy v Faroe Islands
Serbia v Slovenia
Friday 8 October 2010
Northern Ireland v Italy
Serbia v Estonia
Slovenia v Faroe Islands
Tuesday 12 October 2010
Italy v Serbia
Faroe Islands v Northern Ireland
Estonia v Slovenia
Friday 25 March 2011
Slovenia v Italy (TBC)
Serbia v Northern Ireland
Tuesday 29 March 2011
Northern Ireland v Slovenia
Estonia v Serbia
Friday 3 June 2011
Italy v Estonia
Faroe Islands v Slovenia
Tuesday 7 June 2011
Faroe Islands v Estonia
Wednesday 10 August 2011
Northern Ireland v Faroe Islands
Friday 2 September 2011
Faroe Islands v Italy
Slovenia v Estonia
Northern Ireland v Serbia
Tuesday 6 September 2011
Italy v Slovenia
Serbia v Faroe Islands
Estonia v Northern Ireland
Friday 7 October 2011
Serbia v Italy
Northern Ireland v Estonia
Tuesday 11 October 2011
Italy v Northern Ireland
Slovenia v Serbia

UEFA Euro 2012 - Play-offs
11/12 November 2011
Play-off First Leg
Tuesday 15 November 2011
Play-off Second Leg

Source: FIGC

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