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Slovenia look to close gap on Italy

Published: Sunday 31 July 2011, 14.00CET
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli returns to Florence as the Group C leaders host a Slovenia side looking to avenge the 1-0 reverse suffered when the sides met in Ljubljana in March.
Slovenia look to close gap on Italy
Italy's Giampaolo Pazzini (second left) competes with Samir Handanovič during their match in Ljubljana ©Getty Images
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Published: Sunday 31 July 2011, 14.00CET

Slovenia look to close gap on Italy

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli returns to Florence as the Group C leaders host a Slovenia side looking to avenge the 1-0 reverse suffered when the sides met in Ljubljana in March.

Cesare Prandelli will hope a return to his old stamping ground of the Stadio Artemio Franchi augurs well as Italy host Slovenia in UEFA EURO 2012 Group C.

• Prandelli coached host club ACF Fiorentina until taking the Italy job in the summer of 2010, and returned to Florence for his first home qualifier as national team boss, a 5-0 victory against the Faroe Islands on 7 September last year.

• Italy prevailed 1-0 when the sides met in Ljubljana on 25 March. Brazilian-born FC Internazionale Milano midfielder Thiago Motta drove the winner low past Samir Handanovič on his competitive Azzurri debut, while Slovenia's Zlatan Ljubijankič hit the crossbar in the second half.

• Italy's record in six games against their neighbours from the west reads W3 D1 L2 (W2 D0 L1 at home).

• The teams met for the first time in a pair of EURO '96 qualifiers. The first, in Maribor on 7 September 1994, ended in a 1-1 draw, while Fabrizio Ravanelli scored to give Italy a 1-0 win in the return fixture in Udine on 6 September 1995.

• All five meetings since their maiden encounter have been settled by a single goal.

• The countries last went head to head in qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Boštjan Cesar, now an AC Chievo Verona player, scored a late winner as Slovenia won 1-0 in Celje, but Cristian Zaccardo levelled the scores with the only goal in Palermo on 8 October 2005.

• Italy top Group C with 16 points from their opening six fixtures, while Slovenia lie second, five points behind their opponents.

Last updated: 02/08/11 20.26CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuro/news/newsid=1515553.html#prandelli+back+florence

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