FLORENCE, Italy, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) — Giampaolo Pazzini came off the bench to score a late goal and gave Italy a 1-0 win over Slovenia and qualification for Euro 2012 on Tuesday.
The hosts could not convert their numerous chances into goals until the 85th minute when Pazzini met a pass from Claudio Marchisio and beat goalkeeper Jasmin Handanovic with an angled shot from six meters.
With the win, the Azzurri have 22 points, 8 points more than the second-placed Serbia in their group, and thus qualified for the Euro 2012 finals with two matches to spared.
With seven wins and a draw in qualifying, Italy has allowed just one goal- to Sergei Zenjov during Italy’s 2-1 win over Estonia a year ago in its first qualifier under Prandelli.
With a players’ strike having wiped out the opening weekend of Serie A, Italy also struggled to find the target for long stretches in a 1-0 win over the Faeroe Islands on Friday. This time, though, Prandelli’s subsitutions paid off, and the Azzurri can now play their final two qualifiers against Serbia and Northern Ireland without any pressure.