Goals from Mario Balotelli and Giampaolo Pazzini gave Italy victory against UEFA EURO 2012 co-hosts Poland in the first international match played at the new Municipal Stadium Wroclaw.
Before tonight Italy had won seven and drawn two of their ten fixtures in 2011 and after another victory will complete their year against Uruguay in Rome on Tuesday looking good for the finals. Poland, meanwhile, saw a useful five-match unbeaten run ended but can bounce back when Hungary come to Ponzan in midweek.
Poland coach Franciszek Smuda had described Italy as "a top-class team who are excellent when they keep the ball but do not like it when opponents put pressure on them". The home side thus looked to dominate possession from the off, but failed to created any clear-cut opportunities.
After the break, Balotelli gave Italy the lead with a delightful strike from 25 metres which looped over Wojciech Szczęsny and under the crossbar. Pazzini then doubled the advantage on the hour after Arkadiusz Głowacki failed to clear, leaving the FC Internazionale Milano forward with the simplest of finishes.
Moments later, Szczęsny had to be at his best to deny Alessandro Matri in a one-on-one as Cesare Prandelli's charges went in search of a third. Poland, though, passed up an even better opportunity to score, with Jakub Błaszczykowski having his penalty saved by Gianluigi Buffon after Andrea Ranocchia had felled Robert Lewandowski.
Poland: Szczęsny, Piszczek, Głowacki, Perquis (Wasilewski 68), Wawrzyniak, Murawski (Dudka 80), Polanski (Matuszczyk 65), Błaszczykowski, Obraniak (Brożek 56), Peszko (A Mierzejewski 65), R Lewandowski.
Italy: Buffon, Abate, Ranocchia, Chiellini, Criscito (Ogbonna 77), De Rossi (Motta 46), Pirlo (Pepe 46), Marchisio (Matri 61), Montolivo (Nocerino 61), Pazzini (Aquilani 61), Balotelli.
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|Franciszek Smuda (POL)||Cesare Prandelli (ITA)|
|Laurent Duhamel (FRA)|