Euro 2016 Qualifying (Group stage) Match Preview: Italy vs. Azerbaijan

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Updated: October 8, 2014
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Match Date: 10 October 2014 (local)

Match Venue: Stadio Renzo Barbera, Palermo

(Featured image: Italy | Source: dailymail.co.uk)

 

The last two meetings that Italy and Azerbaijan have engaged in were held more than a decade ago. On both counts, the Italians were the soaring champions. In their upcoming meeting, no major change in the results is expected to happen except for the name of the players who will deliver the winning goals.

 

Italy

Winning a second consecutive win since their thrashing at the Netherlands in a friendly, Italy made it clear to Norway that the boot nation is still a major world superpower in spite of their recent debacle at the FIFA World Cup. The side won 0-2 against their Scandinavian rivals, with goals scored by Simone Zaza (16″) and Leonardo Bonucci (62″).

 

“We were very dangerous at times,” said team coach Antonio Conte on describing his squad. “I’m particularly pleased with the young players like [Mattia] De Sciglio, [Matteo] Darmian, Immobile, Zaza, [Alessandro] Florenzi, [Andrea] Poli when he came on, [Mattia] Destro – they’re all young players. This has got to be our present and our future.”

 

Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan stretched their winless saga to a fourth match after they succumbed to Bulgaria in the opening matches of the Euro 2016 qualifications. The side did score in the battle, but it only served as an equalizer to their rivals’ opener. Dima Nazarov netted a leveler in the 54th minute but Bulgaria’s Ventsislav Hristov successfully pulled off a decisive goal in the dying minutes of the match.

 

“For 70 minutes we could live with the Bulgarians; after that we couldn’t,” admits Azerbaijan manager Berti Vogts. “We had problems in our defense, where we had no experienced players.”

 

Online betting tip: A clean sheet by Italy will serve a nightmare for Azerbaijan.