By: Andrea M
Saturday the 10th of October 2015, at Palermo (Stadio Renzo Barbera), Italy won against Azerbaijan 3-1 with goals by Eder, Stephan El Shaarawy, and Matteo Darmian, securing the qualification in Euro 2016.
Although Antonio Conte, Italy’s manager, had to deal with various players’ injuries (Domenico Berardi, Andrea Pirlo and Lorenzo Insigne), Italy didn’t struggle with scoring and dominating the first goal of the match. In fact, after exactly only 11 minutes from the start of the game, Marco Verratti takes by surprise Azerbaijan’s defense with a great play of the ball. The precise and exact passes from Italy’s players (especially from Pirlo to Eder) allowed Italy to be in lead. However, Italy also made the mistake of underestimating the opponents and relaxing too early in the game, allowing, at the 30th minute mark, for Azerbaijan to make a change and score a goal, bringing the match to a tie. Azerbaijan’s goal aroused Italy’s players. In fact, just before the whistle for halftime, Antonio Candreva passes to El Shaarawy, also known as the “faraone” for always pushing past his own limits, who even this time didn’t disappoint us with his leading goal.
At this point, Italy is winning and they don’t seem to worry about the opposing team. However, this did not stop them to play the best they could leading to, at the 65th minute, Darmian shooting from outside the penalty area and successfully earn Italy yet another goal. The goal brought the game to a leading score of 3-1. Italy’s qualification was never doubted even before the third goal, and now it is just matter of waiting for the whistle signaling the ending of the game and Italy flying over to France in June. Italy tries to earn even more goals by substituting in Florenzi, Giovinco and Montolivo, but the score didn’t budge, even after Giovinco hits the crossbar towards the end of the game on a free kick.
The referees add on 3 minutes to the game, and the spectators sit on the edge if their seats as they eagerly want to celebrate the win of the match. The whistle blows; the match is over. Italy can celebrate! They are officially part of Euro 2016, and increase their score to 21 points in the classification. On the other hand, Azerbaijan’s lost cost them their spot in the Euro 2016. putting them in 5th place with only 6 points. They still have one game again Bulgaria to determine the classification, but otherwise they are out of the Euro 2016.