Italy Demolish Liechtenstein in 2018 World Cup Qualifying Win

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistJune 11, 2017

UDINE, ITALY - JUNE 11:  Lorenzo Insigne celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier between Italy and Liechtenstein at Stadio Friuli on June 11, 2017 in Udine, Italy.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Italy claimed their fifth win from six matches in their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign, thrashing minnows Liechtenstein 5-0 at the Dacia Arena in Udine on Sunday.

Lorenzo Insigne opened the scoring for the hosts with a wonderful goal 10 minutes before the break after Italy had squandered some early chances, and Andrea Belotti netted the second soon after half-time.

Eder, Federico Bernardeschi and Manolo Gabbiadini added deserved goals in the final 16 minutes of the match to add a sheen to the victory as Italy kept pace with Spain atop Group G.

Italy posted the lineups on their Twitter feed ahead of kick-off:

Antonio Candreva put a brilliant volley into the back of the net inside two minutes, but the goal was incorrectly ruled out for offside.

It should have mattered little, though, as the Azzurri had other chances to get ahead early. But Ciro Immobile could only fire straight at goalkeeper Peter Jehle when through on goal, and Insigne scuffed a chance after creating space on the edge of the box.

A frustrating and goalless first half-hour for the hosts almost ended with Liechtenstein going ahead against the run of play, but Michele Polverino fired a stinging long-range effort just wide.

When Insigne finally opened the scoring, it was worth the wait. The Napoli forward received the ball in the box from Leonardo Spinazzola with his back to goal, flicked it up and, on the turn, hooked a precise and powerful finish into the top corner.

The anxiety eased inside the Stadio Friuli, and Italy were 2-0 up seven minutes after the break.

UDINE, ITALY - JUNE 11:  Andrea Belotti of Italy scores the second goal during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier between Italy and Liechtenstein at Stadio Friuli on June 11, 2017 in Udine, Italy.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

The excellent Insigne was involved again, as he threaded a fine ball to Belotti, who beat the offside trap and curled an exquisite finish into the back of the net.

Unsurprisingly, Italy continued to camp in Liechtenstein's half, but the killer final ball proved elusive for Gian Piero Ventura's side.

They finally put another complete move together in the 74th minute, when substitute Eder poked home from close-range after Belotti's first-time cross from the right.

Bernardeschi added the fourth eight minutes from time, burying a fine low shot into the bottom corner from 20 yards.

Gabbiadini then rubbed salt into Liechtenstein's wounds in stoppage time, turning home first time after Spinazzola's fizzed delivery from the left flank.