World Cup qualifying round-up: Four-star display from Italy in Liechtenstein

World Cup qualifying round-up: Four-star display from Italy in Liechtenstein

13/11/2016 at 08:35Updated 13/11/2016 at 09:43

Andrea Belotti was the star of the show with a brace as Italy conquered Liechtenstein 4-0 with the new 4-2-4 system.

Giampiero Ventura finally scrapped the 3-5-2 system and unveiled his preferred 4-2-4 with Davide Zappacosta given his senior Azzurri debut. Marco Parolo was suspended with injuries ruling out among others Andrea Barzagli, Giorgio Chiellini, Alessandro Florenzi and Claudio Marchisio.

It was a blistering start for the Azzurri, who already tested Peter Jehle with Jack Bonaventura’s half-volley before the opening goal.

Alessio Romagnoli soared to knock down a corner and Andrea Belotti was in the right place at the right time to flick it past the goalkeeper from close range. It was the type of goal Pippo Inzaghi was most famous for.

Italy's Andrea Belotti reacts after scoring.

Italy's Andrea Belotti reacts after scoring.Reuters

Moments later it was 2-0, as Belotti rose to nod a long ball into the path of Ciro Immobile to sweep past the shot-stopper with the inside of his boot from 12 yards. Mattia De Sciglio dribbled to the by-line and his deflected pull-back was tapped in by Candreva from eight yards for the third goal.

Belotti had the ball in the net again with a stunning back-heel flick volley from six yards, but had wandered into an offside position. It was only a warning, as the Torino hitman did add a fourth moments later, controlling a chipped Bonaventura assist over the top and keeping the finish low from a tight angle.

Italy's Andrea Belotti scores a goal

Italy's Andrea Belotti scores a goalReuters

Italy were less sparkling in the second half, so introduced Lorenzo Insigne. He was reunited with his former Pescara team-mates Immobile and Marco Verratti. The Napoli starlet made an immediate impact, a wonderful volleyed flick assist at the by-line for Belotti, whose shot was deflected into the arms of Jehle.

Zaza also attempted an audacious overhead kick and in stoppages his finish from close range was denied by Jehle's foot.


Georgia and Moldova played out a 1-1 draw in Group D, as the two countries took up fifth and sixth place respectively.

Group G saw Albania lose 3-0 at home to Israel, keeping Israel in third spot.

In Group I, Turkey defeated Kosovo 2-0 in one of the away side's first competitive matches. Croatia won 2-0 against Euro 2016 heroes Iceland. Ukraine defeated Finland 1-0.