Thursday, May 29, 2008

Italy ready for second triumph

How did they perform in UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifying?
• Replacing Marcello Lippi after Italy’s success at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, coach Roberto Donadoni made a shaky start in qualifying but his team eventually did enough qualify as Group B winners.
• A 1-1 home draw with Lithuania in their opening tie in Naples was a shock, but perhaps not as big a setback as the 3-1 defeat in France in their second qualifier, when Raymond Domenech's side avenged their defeat on penalties in the World Cup final.
• That would prove the only reverse the Azzurri suffered and Luca Toni's two goals in a 2-0 win at home against Scotland in March 2007 provided an important reminder of the world champions' credentials.
• Italy won nine of their last ten qualifiers but were denied revenge against France with a goalless draw in Milan.
• They eventually secured qualification both for themselves and France by beating Scotland 2-1 in Glasgow thanks to another goal from Toni and an added-time winner from defender Christian Panucci.
• A 3-1 win against the Faroe Islands in their final fixture earned them top spot in the section at France's expense

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