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Republic of Ireland
6 September 2011
• Stadio Artemio Franchi, Firenze
Referee: S. Moen
• Attendance: 18000
G. Pazzini 85'
90' + 6'
Thank you for following our live commentary. Not the best performance by Italy, but coach Prandelli and his players will have plenty to say after the game. So, make sure you catch all our post-match reaction and analysis from our team of experts right here on Goal.com.
90' + 5'
Italy have qualified for Euro 2012 thanks to their 1-0 win over Slovenia courtesy of a late strike by Pazzini.
90' + 4'
Ohhh! The game ends with a suplime shot from Balotelli which is just inches wide. It would have put the capstone on a great display from the Manchester City striker who has done well since coming on for Montolivo.
90' + 2'
Yellow CardJosip Iličič
90' + 2'
Italy trying their best to hold onto the ball but they face a relentless assault and pressure from Slovenia who are fighting hard to get back into the game.
There will be an extra four minutes of injury to be played on top of the usual 90 as Balotelli fires wide.
Italy have left it very late here in Florence, but Pazzini's goal could be enough to help them cross over the line and book their place for Euro 2012.
Yellow CardBostjan Cesar
GOAL! Pazzini breaks the deadlock with a super shot into the top corner. The long ball is pumped into the box, Slovenia fail to clear, and the Inter striker smashes home!
Great run for Balotelli who sees Marchisio free. He plays the Juventus man in for the shot which ends up wide. Better from Italy.
Pirlo finds De Rossi, but the Roma man fails to time his run and is flagged for offside.
Balzaretti finds Pazzini who runs into the box, but his glancing header is narrow and ends up wide of the post.
Super challenge from Balzaretti who blocks a powerful shot from Pecnik which deflects over the bar. Slovenia fail to take advantage from the corner.
Pirlo plays it long for Pazzini, but he is offside as Balotelli prepares to come on with little under 15 minutes left to play. Remember, Italy need to win to ensure qualification to Euro 2012 tonight.
Good challenge from Ranocchia who does very well to time his tackle and stop Koren from making progress following his decent run into the Italy box.
Slovenia escape three times in quick succession as Kirm clears off the line following De Rossi's header. Pazzini fails to tap home the clearance, and then Rossi fires over after the cross from Pirlo comes in from the right flank. Unbelievable stuff as the game is instantly sparked into life.
Novakovic with the cross, but it is another poor effort as Ranocchia and Buffon combine to mop up at the back.
Nothing much happening on the pitch at all. The Italians have lost some of the sting they showed in the first-half. They just cannot penetrate the opposition defence. Prandelli is not looking impressed.
Yellow CardMiso Brecko
Yellow CardFederico Balzaretti
There are suggestions Manchester City's Balotelli may come on as Italy need more of an attacking threat. A draw will not ensure qualification for Euro 2012 tonight.
Cassano races to the line and crosses, but no-one is there. That will be his last touch of the night as Pazzini replaces him.
Former Fiorentina striker Giampaolo Pazzini is off the bench and ready to come on as the crowed roar. He scored 25 goals for Fiorentina during his time there before joining Sampdoria in 2009.
Marchisio provides the inch-perfect pass for Rossi, but again he goes for power over accuracy and the ball ends up well wide of the target.
Balotelli looks on from the bench and his expression suggests he wants to be out there and in the thick of the action.
Rossi is working hard tonight, but he is not looking at his sharpest by any means as he struggles to impose himself on the game. Italy are not looking very aggressive.
Rossi is fouled on the edge of the area by Suler, but the referee waves play on. It should have been a free-kick.
Marchisio does well to feed Balzaretti on the left, but the return pass is a poor one and the chance escapes the Italians.
Novakovic makes a run on the right for Slovenia, but his ball into the box is easy for Buffon who makes the save without any real fuss.
And we are back underway for the second-half. Marchisio has replaced Motta who has gone off with a muscular injury.
Half-time at the Artemio Franchi and the deadlock has not been broken as both teams head down the tunnel. Italy the better side so far, but Slovenia's long-range shooting has caused some concern.
Slovenia are growing in confidence as we approach the end of the half. However, Pirlo wins the ball and finds Cassano who shoots for Italy, but the ball spins over the crossbar.
Slovenia's Kirm with another powerful shot. The opposition are confident with their shooting from range. But, Buffon has also raised his game as he makes another fine stop.
Kirm tries a sneaky shot into the far post from the edge of the area, but it goes wide of the mark.
Ohh! Slovenia miss the target! The ball is squared to captain Koren who does well to twist his body and compose himself for the shot. His curler is ambitious, but the ball meets Buffon's grateful hand as he tips it wide.
Another fine chance for Italy, another poor miss from De Rossi who meets Balzaretti's cross, but sends the ball over the bar.
Italy still in command at the Artemio Franchi. Cassano is playing his socks off for the team.
Ohhh! Best chance of the game so far, but still no goal as Montolivo fizzes the ball across the box, but De Rossi is just a tad late and fails to stick it into the sack. Unlucky Italy as Slovenia escape once again.
Cassano holds the ball up for Rossi who takes it on and tees up De Rossi. His shot comes through a wall of defenders, but Handanovic gets down to make a good save.
De Rossi goes long for Cassani who makes a diagonal run inside the box, but the whistle is blown for offside.
Yellow CardRobert Koren
Italian appeals for a penalty can be heard around the stadium as Thiago Motta is hacked to the ground inside the area, but the referee waves play on.
Great save by Buffon who does well to take the sting out of Vrsic's drive from the edge of the box. The Juventus goalkeeper parries, allowing Pirlo to get the ball clear. Italy escape danger.
Ohhh! What a miss by Rossi. Brilliant play from Cassano creates an opening for the Villarreal forward, but he drags his effort wide of goal from close range. Italy should be a goal to the good here.
Balotelli is watching on from the bench. This time he is holding a football, not an iPad following Friday's controversial moment against the Faroe Isles. Earlier, Italian FA vice-president Demetrio Albertini said the striker was a "great champion".
Koren looks for Novakovic, but the captain's ball is high, wide and over Buffon's goal. No problems for Italy so far, but the Slovenian's have rarely created any chance worthy of mention.
Italy take the short corner. Pirlo crosses from the right, De Rossi rises up for the header, but he fails to make a good connection with the ball.
Some sloppy passing from Italy as both De Rossi and Cassani give the ball away. However, the Italians still seem in control as Prandelli demands more of a balance between defence and attack. Balzaretti swings the cross in, but Rossi cannot get to it.
Koren tries to lift his side with a run on the left, but Chiellini comes across to clear up the danger. Slovenia are struggling to get close to the ball.
Brilliant ball from Montolivo, surely De Rossi must score as he finds himself in front of Handanovic. No! He blasts the ball wide with a poor left-foot effort. What a miss from the Roma man.
Good recovery from Cassani as he wins the ball back for his side following a poor touch by Pirlo which almost allowed the opposition to spark a counter attack. Nice defensive play.
It's a bright start from the Italians as they underline their intentions early on. Cassano feeds Balzaretti who delivers a perfect cross from the left for Montolivo, but the header is just wide of the post. Great chance for Cesare Prandelli's side.
Italy kick the game off wearing their all-blue strip, while Slovenia are in white. Rossi and Cassano with the first touches. Rossi is through on goal after just 15 seconds, but his shot comes back off Handanovic.
Here are the confirmed line ups for the game: Italy start with AC Milan's Antonio Cassano, and Villarreal's Giuseppe Rossi up front. A win here tonight will grant the Italians access to Euro 2012. Italy (4-3-1-2): Buffon; Cassani, Ranocchia, Chiellini, Balzaretti; De Rossi, Pirlo, Thiago Motta; Montolivo; Rossi, Cassano. Slovenia (4-4-2): J. Handanovic; Brecko, Suler, Cesar, Jokic; Birsa, Koren, Vrsic, Kirm; Novakovic, Matavz.
Hello and welcome to Goal.com's live commentary of the Euro 2012 qualifier between Italy and Slovenia at the Artemio Franchi stadium in Florence. I am Salvatore Landolina, your host for tonight's game. I will be taking you through every kick, card and, hopefully, lots of goals. So, stay logged on to this commentary feature for all the action LIVE!
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