Italy Seal Qualification with Victory

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Italy have qualified for next years tournament in Poland and Ukarine after sealing victory over Slovenia courtesy of a Giampaolo Pazzini strike. 

The Azzurri with home advantage dominated proceedings from the start, but could not find a way past the determined Slovenia defence and a goalkeeper who was in inspired form. Italy’s possession football was in contrast to that of the visitors, who seemed content to sit back, soak-up the pressure and look to hit the hosts on the break.

After a high tempo opening 45 minutes in which PUMA stars Gianluigi Buffon and Giorgio Chiellini turned in assured performances, the match remained goalless - and this pattern looked set to be repeated until a late tactical switch by Cesare Prandelli turned the game in Italy’s favour. With the clock ticking the Italian coach ordered more men forward and the Azzurri were rewarded for their attacking endeavour when Pazzini met a through ball from Claudio Marchisio to beat the goalkeeper from a narrow angle.

Victory means Italy top their group with 22 points and boast an impressive record of seven victories and one draw. What did you think of last night’s match? Can Italy go all the way in 2012? You can join the conversation by leaving a comment below, on Facebook or by using the #Italy and #PUMAFootball hashtags on Twitter.