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Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Euro 2008 Qualifier: Lithuania 0 x Italy 2

In a much better effort than in the Faroes Islands, the Azzurri won their fifth straight game with a convincing 0 x 2 victory over Lithuania. A first half brace by Fabio Quagliarella, in his first starting appearance for Italy, sealed the win against a side that tied the Azzurri last year in Naples. And placed Quagliarella in the pages of Azzurri lore with his excellent debut.

Both of his goals were spectacular. The first was a left footed shot from just outside of the penalty area in the 31st minute. His second, in the 44th minute, was a dipping right footed blast that beat the keeper, Grybauskas, into the upper corner. Di Natale, another new starter up front, had a two chances as well. One he sailed over the crossbar with virtually an open goal. Pippo Inzaghi continued his excellent form with two goal scoring opportunities of his own. The last effort beat the keeper, but rolled slowly away from the lower left post.

There were a few problems in tne midfield. Daniele DeRossi had two uncharacteristic lapses, but the mistakes were not critical. Marius Stankevicius
had two impressive efforts for Lithuania, but the outcome was never really in doubt. With tonight's result, and France's win over Georgia, the Azzurri are in second place with 16 points. France leads Group B with 18. The two will meet next September in Milan. Scotland is in third place with 15 points. The top two will qualify for Euro 2008.

For video highlights, please click here.
Here are the stats courtesy of ESPNsoccernet: (Lithuania is listed first).

Shots (on Goal) 6 (4) 14 (6)
Fouls 14 9
Corner Kicks 3 3
Offsides 1 4
Time of Possession 44% 56%
Yellow Cards 2 1
Red Cards 0 0
Saves 3 7

The extra save by Buffon was due to Perrotta's shot on his own goal in the first half.

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