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Leaders Italy mindful of Estonia threat

Published: Wednesday 11 May 2011, 11.50CET
Having been pushed all the way by Estonia in their opening Group C qualifier in September, Cesare Prandelli's Italy will hope for an easier ride when they meet again in Modena.
Leaders Italy mindful of Estonia threat
Leonardo Bonucci scored the winning goal when the teams last met ©Getty Images
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Published: Wednesday 11 May 2011, 11.50CET

Leaders Italy mindful of Estonia threat

Having been pushed all the way by Estonia in their opening Group C qualifier in September, Cesare Prandelli's Italy will hope for an easier ride when they meet again in Modena.

Italy flirted with disaster in their first Group C meeting with Estonia before securing a 2-1 win, and will hope for an easier night in their second UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying meeting.

• Overseeing his first competitive game since replacing Marcello Lippi following the FIFA World Cup, Cesare Prandelli watched his charges head into the interval 1-0 down in Tallinn on 3 September after Sergei Zenjov punished a mistake by visiting goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu. A pair of Andrea Pirlo corners nonetheless helped to spare the Azzurri's blushes as Antonio Cassano finished on the hour mark and Leonardo Bonucci struck three minutes later.

• Zenjov's strike remains the only goal Italy have conceded in five competitive fixtures under Prandelli, and they have yet to be denied victory in two home games with the former ACF Fiorentina boss at the helm.

• Estónia have played just one Group C away match to date, securing an eye-opening 3-1 success against Serbia, regarded by many as their best result ever in a competitive international.

• They followed that up with a draw against Serbia last time out on 29 March, four days after Italy defeated second-placed Slovenia in Ljubljana to establish a five-point lead at the summit.

• Italy's record in five games against Estonia reads W5 D0 L0 (W2 D0 L0 at home).

• The nations first met in a 1994 FIFA World Cup qualifier in Trieste on 14 April 1993, when Roberto Baggio and Giuseppe Signori registered in a 2-0 win for Italy. Baggio scored twice more in the return fixture in Tallinn – the first a penalty – either side of a Roberto Mancini strike as the visitors prevailed 3-0.

• As fate would have it, the two teams were pooled together again in EURO '96 qualifying. This time Christian Panucci and Pierluigi Casiraghi scored in a 2-0 win for Italy in Tallinn, before two efforts from Gianfranco Zola and one apiece for Demetrio Albertini and Fabrizio Ravanelli made it 4-1 in the second encounter. Martin Reim's struck Estonia's lone response.

Last updated: 11/05/11 17.48CET

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