One excellent save from Mauri, but made a fumble from Montolivo’s cross which momentarily allowed Cassano a glance of goal but recovered well. Should then have done better when taking an age to get down to Thiago Motta’s match-winning strike.
Beaten by Montolivo from time to time and was slow in reacting to Mauri, but largely dealt well with the overlapping runs of Balzaretti before having to depart with an injury 20 minutes from the end.
Made one error in allowing Aquilani’s cross to reach Pazzini, but reacted well thereafter. Done for pace from time to time by the energetic Maggio, but his position was generally good.
Did generally well up against Pazzini, though he reacted slightly slower than the striker as he struck the post at the quarter mark. Thereafter he was fairly solid, and will have done little harm to his growing reputation around the peninsula with his performance.
The no-nonsense centre-back made one particularly good cover tackle on Mauri early on as Slovenia looked to weather the pressure created by Italy’s neat play. Did well not to get pulled out of shape by the movement of Cassano, but allowed the move to develop in front of him as Italy fashioned the winning goal.
His excellent left foot was utilised little as Montolivo and Balzaretti did a good job of shepherding him away from positions of danger for the most part. Slovenia will need to get him on the ball more between now and October if they are to get their campaign back on track.
Used his cultured left foot to good effect, spreading play nicely with precision passes which asked questions of the visitors’ back four, but didn’t always pull his weight when Italy had the ball, with too many Italy moves coming from the midfield having space to play in.
Timed his run well to get into a shooting position in the centre but delayed too long and was denied by Maggio. Later did well to get to the byline, but his cross wasn’t well anticipated by Kirm. Will be disappointed his team-mates didn’t make more of his clever running.
Offered little up top in comparison to his partner Novakovic and paid for it with a breather soon after the break in favour of Ljubljankic.
Had he been quicker to anticipate Novakovic’s run and cross he could have been Slovenia’s last-gasp saviour, but it summed up his game that he didn’t quite react in time. Another player guilty of not pressuring Italy enough on the ball as the home side missed the chance to cause an upset.
Made a couple of excellent saves from Koren and Ljubljankic as he was periodically kept on his toes from attacks in the channels. Proved once more why he is up there among the great international goalkeepers.
Looked to play his usual overlapping game from the off, and was neat and tidy in the tackle. The late bloomer staked a real claim for a starting left back slot, despite momentarily losing Ljubljankic immediately after he’d come on.
Solid throughout as he produced another great showing on the international circuit. Kept Dedic quiet through and largely dealt well with the added aerial presence provided by Ljubljankic in the second period.
Still not quite at the top of his game, though he looked better than he has on club duty of late. He and Balzaretti combined to let Ljubljankic in for Slovenia’s best chance, but he was generally in the right place at the right time whenever the home side built up a head of steam.
Clearly bringing his club performances into the international scene for his ‘new’ country as he provided midfield steel and a measure of industry, if not that real killer pass which a Pirlo can deliver. When he did finally advance in the 73rd minute he struck his first Italy goal to make himself the hero of the hour.
Slovenia won a corner in only the second minute when pouncing on space which the Napoli wing-back had left in behind, but he more than made up for it later in the half when making a superb last ditch tackle on Novakovic as he was set to shoot. Also travelled forward well as is his way and made a big leap towards making the right back spot his own.
Scuffed a bouncing ball towards the bottom corner in the opening minutes, allowing Handanovic time to get down and save. His energy down the left was impressive, setting up Cassano with a chance, but he was also booked for a late challenge on Brecko. Looks more than able on the ball with time and space to deliver.
Got forward well in the build-up to Pazzini’s first half chance, and his ability on the ball was in full view for long spells, though the weight of pass wasn’t quite there at times. Won’t always get the space he was presented with at times by Slovenia, but he’s taken a step forward in his return to playing top international football.
As cultured as ever when on the ball and provided decent energy, but never looked likely to be the match-winning No. 10 that the Italy performance was in need of despite forcing a good save from Handanovic.
Showed good movement in both dropping deep and advancing beyond Pazzini for balls played over the top of the Slovenia defence but didn’t react quickly enough when Montolivo’s low cross was spilt by Handanovic. His involvement lessened with time, leading to his substitution just after Thiago Motta’s goal.
Had seen little of the ball before his snap-shot from Jokic’s mistake came back off the near post. Thereafter he was living off scraps but led the line very well and was inches short of converting Cassano’s knock-down. Continues to grow as an international forward.
- J. Handanovič
Replaced the injured Brecko at right back and within minutes was left standing as Balzaretti’s run put Thiago Motta in for Italy’s winner.
- M. Mavrič
- G. Šukalo
- A. Bačinović
His first touch was his very best, forcing a great save out of Buffon immediately after replacing Dedic. Thereafter he didn’t quite have the desired effect, though his movement and aerial presence did cause the odd moment of panic for the victors.
- E. Viviano
- D. Gastaldello
- D. Criscito
Replaced Mauri and showed his usual industrious nature in the midfield three.
A late replacement for Montolivo as Italy played down the clock.
- A. Gilardino
Came on for Cassano and was busy enough to cause Slovenia’s back line some late headaches.