Despite the stuttering start of the Cesare Prandelli era, the gulf between Italy and their opponents ranked 118 in the world was immense. The Azzurri played with smiles on their faces as they dominated the weak Faroe Islands and ran out comfortable winners on a balmy Tuesday evening in Florence.
Emiliano Viviano – 6
Had little to do but looked relaxed on his Azzurri debut. His quick distribution was impressive and dealt with what few balls came his way very comfortably. An assured display from the Bologna goalkeeper. Promising.
Luciano De Silvestri – 6
Played more as a right winger than a full back but was still able to defend when necessary. His crossing was better in the first half but a decent debut nonetheless for the young full back. Encouraging.
Giorgio Chiellini – 5.5
A less than assured performance which is all the more concerning considering he had very little to do. Gives away needless free kicks and does little to inspire confidence in his less experienced colleagues. Once again looked clumsy with the ball at his feet. Confusing.
Leonardo Bonucci – 6.5
Another step forward for the Juventus center back who showed flashes of his attacking qualities with some measured long passes and strides out of defence. Currently putting his more illustrious partner Chiellini in the shade. Heartening.
Luca Antonelli – 5.5
The young left back failed to make the most of his first full 90 minutes against some weak opposition. Did not look totally comfortable running the ball and despite plenty of endeavour does not appear ready for international football. Timid.
Daniele De Rossi – 6.5
Played deep and looked after Andrea Pirlo as if he was his bodyguard. Managed to score a goal despite his defensive starting position and an improvement over recent outings. Covered the spaces left by the advancing full backs. Fundamental.
Riccardo Montolivo – 6
He is saved only by his good assist for Fabio Qugliarella’s goal. Another less than convincing outing and no consistency in his performance other than simple short passes. Failing to leave any mark on games like this is a disturbing sign. Dismal.
Andrea Pirlo – 7
Dictated the entire Italy offensive play like a West End musical conductor. Intelligent passes and a textbook free kick is what makes Pirlo the vital cog to any current Italy footballing success. His ability to play enticing through balls was a joy to watch. Indispensable.
Giuseppe Rossi – 6
Very lively and looked to attack the penalty area whenever he had the ball. Impressive direct running from the Villareal forward and even tracked back to help out defensively. Exciting on the ball and only lacked a goal to cap off a good display. Energetic.
Antonio Cassano – 7.5
His vote is conditioned only by the strength of the opponent but Cassano’s magical moment continues in a blue shirt. He was magnificent this evening under the gaze of Robert Baggio. A scorching goal and a multitude of dribbles, feints and clever balls along with a generosity in his play not seen before. Sublime.
Alberto Gilardino – 6.5
A good headed goal but caught offside far too often and missed a golden opportunity to add to his tally when clear on goal. 17 goals for national team now but he is still far from convincing and his performance may not have done enough to guarantee a start next time out. Frustrating.
Fabio Quagliarella – 6.5
Replaced Rossi and continued the high work rate. Tried to keep the attacking flow of the game by making runs into the box as well as dribbling when in possession. Capped his display with a good poachers goal making his inclusion in the second half crucial. Decisive.
Giampaolo Pazzini – 6
Came on for Gilardino and created himself a good shooting chance which he rifled just over the bar. Plenty of movement, some good runs in and around the box as well as playing a part in Quagliarella’s goal. Generous
Angelo Palombo – 6
Once again used to inject a bit more steal into a tired midfield and in the few minutes he was afforded won all his tackles. Tactically he is vital to the squad as he replaced the spent De Rossi seamlessly. Important.