Insigne masterpiece sets up Italy win over Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein's courageous resistance had fallen apart in the closing stages of the match, and Italy added one more to their final tally before the visitors were put out of their misery when Southampton striker Gabbiadini turned Spinazzola's cross past the keeper at the near post.

Only the group victor qualifies directly for the World cup so the return leg between Spain and Italy should be a crucial one (they will play on September second at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid).

Lorenzo Insigne's stunning opener was the only goal of a disappointing first half and only a raft of replacements helped Italy assert their natural dominance after the break, with Andrea Belotti, Eder, Federico Bernardeschi and Manolo Gabbiadini all getting the better of under-siege goalkeeper Peter Jehle. Young midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini made his debut.

Antonio Candreva had the ball in the net after two minutes but the goal was disallowed for offside.

The comprehensive victory keeps Italy locked together with Spain at the top of the group and head coach Ventura felt the Italians stepped up their game after the interval, but the coach issued a note of caution ahead of his side's trip to Madrid in September.

"In the second half alone we created seven or eight clear chances".

Insigne then turned provider for Italy's second goal five minutes into the second half.

Italy nearly made it two before the interval when Ciro Immobile latched on to a pass in the area, but Peter Jehle in the Liechtenstein goal was equal to the effort this time and the hosts were forced to go into the break with just a solitary goal to their names.

Immobile had scored in his last three qualifiers but he continued to be frustrated as he saw a shot rebound off Jehle's left-hand post.

Napoli forward Insigne played Andrea Belotti through to score the second, before substitute Eder volleyed in the third.

The first half was useful because it taught us that if you try to do too much, you end up doing nothing.

Bernardeschi, another substitute, added the fourth with a long-range shot which swerved away from Jehle, the 23-year-old's first worldwide goal.

"Football is a game".

"In the second half we did things as we should have, we played with a lot more lucidity and the chances came, and eventually so did the goals".

  • Leroy Wright