Giuseppe Rossi scored twice as Italy made it seven wins out of eight in qualifying Group 1 with this victory over Azerbaijan.
Show of strength
The Villarreal CF forward struck 18 minutes into each half as the group leaders dominated the bottom team in Baku. Sebastian Giovinco created the first goal by playing a one-two with Robert Acquafresca before providing an easy finish for Rossi. Midfielder Giovinco of Empoli FC also earned the clinching 63rd-minute penalty which Rossi confidently converted.
The playmaker was everywhere and it was no surprise when he helped to conjure the breakthrough. Not that the Azzurrini had things all their own way. With German coach Bernhard Lippert making his debut at the Azerbaijan helm, the hosts responded well to the setback of falling behind, with winger Asif Mammadov and striker Vagif Dzavadov catching the eye.
Pierluigi Casiraghi's men continued to hold sway in midfield, however, and Giovinco drew the second-half foul from goalkeeper Osman Umarov which signalled the end of the contest. Giovinco might have scored himself later, while Vugar Nadyrov came closest for Azerbaijan when he narrowly failed to convert a dangerous cross.