Last week while we were making our own assessments about our friendly with Spain, there was a qualification game played in Group C (our group) for Euro 2012.
This match, Northern Ireland v. Faroe Islands, did not displace us at the top of our group, but the 4-0 win did bring Northern Island into 3rd place over Serbia.
Not that this should be of big concern for the Azzurri, as we are still comfortably at the top of Group C. But still, we are not yet guaranteed a qualifying spot, either, we need to continue winning to be assured of that.
Estonia 1, Italy 2
Italy 5, Faroe Islands 0
Northern Ireland 0, Italy 0
Italy 3, Serbia 0 (forfeited)
Slovenia 0, Italy 1
Italy 3, Estonia 0
Coming up, we have the following qualifiers. The obvious goal being to maintain our spot at the top of the group and qualify for Euro 2012:Sep. 2: Faroe Islands v. Italy
Sep. 6: Italy v. Slovenia
Oct. 7: Serbia v. Italy
Oct. 11: Italy v. Northern Ireland
Sure, the trip to the Faroe Islands had better be rather easy to pull off. But Slovenia is tougher than they look. And even trickier, the away game to Serbia. Remember last year’s match at Genoa that was called off due to fan violence? Yes, we are going into their house now, which will be both physically and mentally demanding. Plus, they will want to prove that they can win on the pitch, not hand us a game because of fans. No way will they roll over. And our last match will be at home against Northern Ireland, the same squad that gave us our only draw in qualifying.
So while Wednesday’s win was very enjoyable and fun to savor, now we have to work that much harder and earn our spot at Euros next year against teams who will be fighting for survival and a chance of their own to travel to Poland -Ukraine next summer.
Now, if you dare, try to predict the scores for our last 4 qualifiers. If you get 1 right, I will give you an invisible internet high five (which you probably won’t even notice.) If you get 2 right, I will say “well done” in my worst English schoolteacher voice (which of course you won’t hear unless you are standing next to me at the time.) If you get 3 right, I will consider mentioning you in the comments come October, if I can remember, which is quite the gamble these days. And if you correctly guess all 4 right, I will award you 1,000 internet points while simultaneously calling the FIGC, who will arrest you for match fixing and ban you for life from football. Do your worst.