Result MALTA 0 - 2 ITALY, Goal by Mario Balotelli Tuesday 26 March 2013, 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualification

By Anna Italia
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         % Ball Possession MALTA and % Ball Possession ITALY
                  Malta 0 - 2 Italy 
                                                                                  7' Mario Balotelli (pen)
                                                                                45' Mario Balotelli

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Forza Azzurri, Forza Italia
Italy National Football team playing the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying against Malta as group leaders.   Highlight of the match is to see Italy lineup composed by players of two teams, 6 Juventus players and 5 AC Milan players.  Sad news is the announcement of goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis saying good bye to the national team as he announced it today.  Goalkeeper Gigi Buffon with the record of 126 appearances.

I am just so happy to watch the fans waving giant Italian flags and rooting for the Azzurri!   Loving the banner  with the Italian flag "stile di vita" meaning "lifestyle" 

Players making their way to the pitch with match officials wearing yellow shirts.  It's spectacular and the emotions to see the faces from our Italian national team players are just beyond words.   We are ready for the national anthems.   It's the Inno di Mameli to start for Italy showing closeups from Balotelli, El Shaarawy, Bonucci, Pirlo, Barzagli, Giaccherini, De SCigio, Abate, Montolivo, Marchisio, Buffon with his eyes closed inspiredd singing.  Wow, guys, my heart is pumping and rooting for our Italia.  Forza ragazzi.  All our players singing the anthem, close up from coach Cesare Prandelli.   Few whistles at the Stadium while Italy's anthem playing and Balotelli looking at the crowd, but the applause for Italy are overwhelming at the end.  Pass the snacks and let's enjoy the game.

It's showtime, Referee Serdar GÖZÜBÜYÜK whistles the beginning of the match.... let's roll the ball.....  come on Italy!!!!

Mamma mia.. guys, are you kidding me or what!  It's a clear penalty!    Referee Gozubuyuk giving a penalty to Italy.  Here is the thing, Malta defender Luke Dimech commits a foul on Italy forward Stephan El Shaarawy bringing him down inside the penalty area.    El Shaarawy  making  the way for Balotelli to shoot the penalty.  In the 7th minute,  Balotelli with a serious and concentrating look position in the penalty spot.... tension, and I am just praying for Balotelli not to miss it,,, and there you go..  Balotelli with a right footed shot defeat Malta goalkeeper  in the bottom right corner to put Italy in the lead.!!!! Players congratulating now Balotelli while coach Prandelli profits to give instructions to the players.  Let's keep pushing Italy bandwagon guys!

No way!  Oh no!!!  It's a penalty again, but this time it is for Malta!.   In the 16th minute Referee Gozubuyuk grants the penalty to Malta after Italy goalkeeper Gigi Buffon brings down Malta forward Andre Schembri while anticipating to block the action.  Buffon cannot believe his luck and taking the penalty is Malta forward Michael Misfud.  Guys, I am just in anxiety.  And now face to face Mifsud versus Buffon...  Oh my gosh.,,,,  "HABEMUS BUFFON!!!!"   Mamma mia, tears flowing of joy seeing Buffon saving the right footed shot penalty!!!!  Wow, awesome, great, add more adjectives... just super Buffon and even Prandelli celebrating this save while teammates congratulating Buffon.  I am loving to see Buffon thanking his teammates as to tell them, don't worry guys, I am here.   I LOVE BUFFON!!!!!!!!  Awesome, forza Italia!!!

Bim bam boom and the Milan combo working wonders!  In the 45th minute it is Super Mario Balotelli to rock the boat!  Here  is the thing, the combo between defender Mattia De Sciglio coming from the left running fast enough to control the  ball and lifting his head before making the pass to assure  Balotelli made it on time to smack a right footed shot for the goal leaving Malta goalkeeper observing the ball in the bottom right corner!  Hip hip hurrah!  oh come on guys, let's do the cheerleading for Italy, hip hip hurrah!!!  Italia!!!!!!  

First half ending 21% ball possession Malta and 79% ball possession Italy

Second half starts without changes.....

Italy making the first substitution  in the 61st minute. Midfielder Antonio Candreva replacing midfielder Emanuele Giaccherini. 

Oh gosh!  Italy closer to the goal in the 62nd minute with forward Stephan El Shaarawy getting the assist by midfielder Claudio Marchisio.  El Shaarawy delivering a right footed shot, but it is saved by Malta goalkeeper in the bottom right corner.  Gee! 

Second substitution for Italy in the 76th minute, forward Stephan El Shaarawy replaced by Alessio Cerci.

 Malta making a substitution in the 82nd minute, forward Andrew Cohen replacing midfielder Clayton Failla.

Italy making the last substitution in the 86th minute with forward Alberto Gilardino replacing forward Mario Balotelli.  Wow, Balotelli leaving the pitch among whistles, supposedly from Malta fans, but applauded by Italy fans.  Well done for Balotelli.

Time running by.... it looks Italy grabbing this victory for the full 3 points.

In the 88th minute substitution for Malta with forward Terence Vella replacing forward Michael Misfud.

Say no more.... game over!   Italy grabbing all three points and remaining as Group B Leader with 13 points now.

Here is the official lineup from MALTA NATIONAL FOOTBALL team  by coach Ghedin:

MALTA (4-4-2): Hogg; A. Ajus, Dimech, Caruana, Failla; Herrera, Sciberras, Briffa, R. Fenech; Schembri, Mifsud.

Here is the official lineup from ITALY NATIONAL FOOTBALL team by coach Cesare Prandelli:

ITALIA (4-3-3):  Buffon; Abate, Barzagli, Bonucci, De Sciglio; Montolivo, Pirlo, Marchisio; Giaccherini, El Shaarawi, Balotelli.$plit/C_2_ImageGallery_350_Gallery_fgitem3_firstimg.jpg
Photo  (archive, Brazil - Italy)

After the game, Italy leading Group B with 13 points and a positive goal difference of +8

2014 FIFA World Cup Qualification
Group B Standing, March 26, 2013


GD Pts
1 Italy 5 4
1 0 12 4
2 0 0 5 1
2 1 0 7 3
8 13
2 Bulgaria 6 2
4 0 11 4
2 2 0 10 3
0 2 0 1 1
7 10
3 Czech Republic 5 2
2 1 6 4
1 1 1 3 4
1 1 0 3 0
2 8
4 Denmark 5 1
3 1 6 5
0 2 0 1 1
1 1 1 5 4
1 6
5 Armenia 4 1
0 3 2 7
0 0 2 1 6
1 0 1 1 1
-5 3
6 Malta 5 0
0 5 1 14
0 0 2 0 3
0 0 3 1 11
-13 0

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Click the video to watch the highlights of the match, MALTA - ITALY, Tuesday 26 March 2013, Ta'Qali National Stadium

2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying

Malta 0 - 2 Italy
Tuesday 26 March 2013
Ta'Qali - Ta'Qali National Stadium

Referee: Serdar GÖZÜBÜYÜK
Assistant Referee 1: Charles SCHAAP
Assistant Referee 2: Hessel STEEGSTRA
Fourth official: Richard LIESVELD



Official Formations - Lineup:

MALTA (4-4-2): Hogg; A. Ajus, Dimech, Caruana, Failla; Herrera, Sciberras, Briffa, R. Fenech; Schembri, Mifsud. 

Substitutes.: Haber, Camilleri, Borg, P. Fenech, A. Muscat, R. Muscat, Cohen, Vella.

Coach: Ghedin

ITALIA (4-3-3):  Buffon; Abate, Barzagli, Bonucci, De Sciglio; Montolivo, Pirlo, Marchisio; Giaccherini, El Shaarawi, Balotelli.

Substitutes.: De Sanctis, Astori, Maggio, Ranocchia, Candreva, Diamanti, Florenzi, Poli, Cerci, Giovinco, Gilardino, Sirigu. 

Coach: Cesare Prandelli

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2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying

Malta 0 - 2 Italy
Tuesday 26 March 2013
Ta'Qali - Ta'Qali National Stadium

Referee: Serdar GÖZÜBÜYÜK
 Malta Match Stats
 Goals    2
8(2) Shots (on goal) 15(4)
18 Fouls 9
2 Corner kicks 7
0 Offsides 6
21% Ball Possession 79%
0 Yellow Cards 1
0 Red Cards 0
2 Saves 2

What do you think of the results? Which players surprised you or disappointed you and why?

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