Italy were far from brilliant yet still managed to secure an easy 5-0 win over the Faroes Islands at the Stadio Artemio Franchi here on Tuesday.
The win was enough to put Italy in control of Group C following their 2-1 success in Estonia on Friday.
Alberto Gilardino, Daniele De Rossi, Antonio Cassano, Fabio Quagliarella and captain Andrea Pirlo found the net in a game that was over at half-time and which rarely gave a crowd of less than 20,000 much to get excited about.
Even so, Italy coach Cesare Prandelli will have been pleased with the side he is building as at least they suffered none of the scares that troubled them in Tallinn.
Italy wasted little time in laying siege to the Faroes goal with Cassano dragging a shot wide after just three minutes.
It quickly resembled a training ground match of attack versus defence and there was little surprise when Gilardino headed home Pirlo’s corner on 11 minutes.
After hogging the pre-match headlines, Cassano was in the thick of things although at times guilty of trying to overdo his efforts.
However, one purposeful run down the left saw him cut in and almost reach the post before his pullback was smothered by goalkeeper Gunnar Nielsen.
Former Manchester United striker Giuseppe Rossi then got in on the act, forcing Nielsen to parry after some neat footwork and a firm drive.
But then on 22 minutes the Faroes crumbled as De Rossi slammed home at the second attempt after his initial off-target effort came back to him from a ricochet.
Given time and space to turn and shoot from the edge of the area, Cassano then crashed home an unstoppable strike on 27 minutes.
Moments later Cassano slipped in Gilardino but on his home ground the Fiorentina forward shot straight into Nielsen’s arms.
The Faroes were rarely getting a sight of the Italy goal but Frosi Benjaminson thumped a 30-yard free-kick straight at debutant goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano.
Italy were back on the attack after the break and after pinning the Faroes in their box, eventually Gilardino’s overhead kick went wide.
Around the hour mark Prandelli made a pair of changes, bringing on Giampaolo Pazzini and Fabio Quagliarella for Gilardino and Rossi.
Both subs were quickly into the thick of things, each firing a chance over the bar while Nielsen got down smartly to hold onto a Luca Antonelli shot.
Quagliarella added the fourth nine minutes from time after good work from Riccardo Montolivo down the right but the Juventus striker — who once played for Fiorentina but then angered fans here when he came back as an Udinese player — was roundly jeered.
Pirlo added the cherry on the cake in the last minute with a sumptuous free-kick into the top corner.
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