Italy overcome Bulgaria to extend group lead

Italy overcome Bulgaria to extend group lead

A dazzling first-half display by Italy in Turin tonight resulted in a 2-0 win over Bulgaria in Ireland's World Cup qualifying Group Eight.
9th Sep 2009

 

A dazzling first-half display by Italy in Turin tonight resulted in a 2-0 win over Bulgaria in Ireland's World Cup qualifying Group Eight.

 

Defender Fabio Grosso volleyed the Italians ahead on 11 minutes before Vincenzo Iaquinta swept home from close range five minutes before half-time following an exchange of passes with Alberto Gilardino on the edge of the box. Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni was in attendance at the Stadio Olimpico.

 

The result puts the World Champions in a commanding position to seal automatic qualification into next year's FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

 

Marcello Lippi's side lead the table with 20 points from eight games. Ireland occupy second with four points less while Bulgaria remain a further five adrift on 11 points. All three nations have two games each to play.

 

Italy can secure their place at the finals should they avoid defeat against Ireland at Croke Park on October 10.

 

Giovanni Trapattoni's Irish side, meanwhile, are likely to require two points from the six available from the double-header against Italy and Montenegro to see off any late challenge by Bulgaria for second spot. Eight of the runners-up from the nine groups in the European section of the qualifiers advance into four plays-offs in November for the right to assure berths at the South Africa showpiece.