Friday, October 10, 2014

Italy vs Azerbaijan - Euro 2016 Qualifying 10-10-2014

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Italy vs Azerbaijan - Competition: UEFA Euro Qualifying, Group H

Italy enter their second match in their bid to return to the European Championships in 2016. Coming off a disappointing World Cup that saw them bounced from group play by Uruguay and vast underdogs Costa Rica, the Azzurri are eager to embark upon their new campaign under well-respected manager Antonio Conte. The Italian took the post after failing to see eye-to-eye with board members on certain issues at Juventus, and they are expected to greatly improve by the time the European spectacle gets under way in France. He has already led his nation to 2 straight 2:0 victories over the Netherlands in a friendly match and over Norway in their Group H opening contest. Sassuolo striker Simone Zaza rewarded the faith Conte placed in him with the start in Norway, as the 23-year-old found the back of the net in the 16th minute. From there, their rock-solid defence took control of the match until just past the hour mark, when Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci sealed the match’s 2:0 fate with a goal. Headed into Friday’s match-up with Azerbaijan, the Azzurri sit atop the pinnacle of Group H yet remain tied on points with Croatia and Bulgaria, making this home match against the vast underdogs a must-win for the hosts.
Azerbaijan team need to get positive results at home if they can even begin to dream of qualifying for the 2016 games in France. Unfortunately for the Milli, they conceded a late goal to Bulgaria at the Bakcell Arena to lose all of the points in their first match of Group H. German-born attacker Dimitrij Nazarov of Karlsruher SC scored just before the hour mark to instill life into his team and into the stands of the home support. However, their doom on the day was eventually sealed, and manager Berti Vogts will need to find a clever way to get his troops up for a contest that has road defeat written all over it against the mighty Azzurri. But the Italians are admittedly in a bit of a transition period, making the upset here an unlikely yet real possibility. It may be important to note however, that the visitors have never won any of their 25 European Championship qualifying matches on the road, managing to find defeat in 23 of those contests.

Italy last 5 matches:
15/06/14 England 1 – 2 Italy
20/06/14 Italy 0 – 1 Costa Rica
24/06/14 Italy 0 – 1 Uruguay
04/09/14 Italy 2 – 0 Netherlands
09/09/14 Norway 0 – 2 Italy

Azerbaijan last 5 matches:
05/03/14 Azerbaijan 1 – 0 Philippines
28/05/14 United States 2 – 0 Azerbaijan
20/08/14 Azerbaijan 0 – 0 Uzbekistan
03/09/14 Russia 4 – 0 Azerbaijan
09/09/14 Azerbaijan 1 – 2 Bulgaria

Match date: Friday, 10 October 2014
Kick Off Time: 19:45 BST
Venue: Stadio Barbera - La Favorita, Palermo, Italy

You can watch the match here: Link 1 , Link 2 [Live Scores]

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