Produced two absolutely spellbinding saves in the second half to claw the ball away from danger on two occasions when Bulgaria looked certain to score. A world-class display littered with several quality moments.
Assured alongside his Juve defensive partner Chiellini, as he made a series of solid plays at the back to snuff out danger before it even developed.
Excellent at the back to counter the opposition forwards, as they found it hard to find any space with the Juventus man in the way.
Never let his opponent get the better of him out in wide areas. Locked down his side of the pitch.
Worked hard down the right in tandem with Candreva to extinguish the Bulgaria threat, but did not provide a ton of dynamism.
Quietly effective distribution, and good at retaining possession. A solid enough performance.
D. De Rossi
Easily bettered his Bulgarian counterparts in the middle through his ability to read danger, and his poise on the ball.
Looked off the pace during the opening exchanges, but recovered well to solidify the midfield and provide support in defence and attack.
Perhaps tried to take on his man one too many times, but was otherwise effective, as shown by a beautiful cross to set up what turned out to be the game winner.
Came up with the match-winning goal with a placed header from close range, and was a good outlet up front, finding himself in a few strong goalscoring positions.
A willing runner on the flanks, and slipped in his teammates with a few clever through-balls.
A moment of hesitation with his defence aside, he was solid between the sticks, but was well beaten by Gilardino for the goal.
Tried hard out on the right flank, giving his side a fair deal of defensive security.
Found little joy out on the flanks, and was not always accurate with his deliveries into the box.
Solid alongside Bodurov, and was alert to the aerial danger posed by Italy on set pieces.
Crucially missed his tackle to allow Candreva to slip in a cross for Gilardino to head home the only goal of the game.
A great sprint back to hack away a goalbound effort off the line was the highlight of an accomplished defensive display.
Thought that he had scored when tapping in a Nedelev cross, but Buffon recovered to make a strong save. Energetic and forward-thinking in the middle.
Offered little in midfield, apart from an extra body to provide occasional cover. Lethargic on the ball.
Put in an honest shift in the middle of the park, protecting his defence well in the second half.
The brightest spark for the visitors, as his enterprise out wide fashioned a few dangerous chances for his side, before he came close himself with a low shot.
Very careless with the ball, as a few Bulgaria half-chances ended at his feet.