Juventus
    Juventus
      07.09.2015 10:10 - in: Other competitions S

      Azzurri on brink of Euro 2016

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      Daniele De Rossi’s penalty puts Italy on the brink of Euro 2016 qualification as Gianluigi Buffon wins his 150th cap. Mario Mandzukic’s Croatia lose in Norway

      With two fixtures remaining, few European qualifying groups are as delicately poised as Italy and Croatia’s Group H. Following up on their 1-0 win over Malta on Thursday night, the Azzurri prevailed over fourth-placed Bulgaria in Palermo thanks to Daniele De Rossi’s early spot-kick.

      From then on, Antonio Conte’s men remained in control of the tie despite the goal scorer’s 54th minute dismissal for an altercation with Bulgaria’s Illian Micanski, who was also sent off. The Euro 2012 runners up even had chances to extend their slender lead, the best falling to Leonardo Bonucci seven minutes from time.

      The hosts’ rearguard, featuring Gianluigi Buffon, earning his 150th cap on the night, Giorgio Chiellini and Bonucci, was rarely tested by the visitors. Further forward, Juventus’ Simone Zaza came off the bench halfway into the second period to make his sixth international appearance.

      Berget sets up Rome showdown

      Over in Oslo, Malmo FF striker Jo-Inge Berget netted his first international goals as his side overturned Croatia at the Ulleval Stadium, leapfrogging them into second place in the process.

      After a tight first half in which the away side could have taken the lead through Mario Mandzukic’s firm header, the hosts scored twice in the space of 20 minutes after the interval to set up a fascinating conclusion to Group H in October.

      With two games remaining, Italy (18 points), Norway (16 points) and Croatia (15 points) can all still secure automatic qualification. Norway’s visit to Rome on 13 October in the final round of fixtures could decide the fate of all three sides in the hunt for qualification. 

      Bianconeri in action tonight

      This evening, Emil Audero’s Italy U19s are back in action as they entertain Ireland in Cava de Terreni while French duo Paul Pogba and Patrice Evra will look to follow up their impressive win over Portugal last weekend with another positive result against Serbia in Bordeaux.

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