Italy are on the verge of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying play-offs after a comprehensive 8-1 win against Wales.
Four for Gilardino
Already holding a perfect record from five Group 9 games, Italy stretched their lead to five points above Serbia and Montenegro with two games left, the way led by Parma AC's Alberto Gilardino, who scored four goals.
Gilardino's first came on 17 minutes as he headed in Gaetano D'Agostino's cross, and soon afterwards the same provider set up captain Matteo Brighi to double the lead.
Wales pull one back
David Vaughan pulled one back for Wales in the 27th minute with a quickly-taken free-kick, but Giuseppe Sculli's half-volley from a Giampiero Pinzi cross ensured Italy ended the half two goals to the good.
It was 4-1 four minutes into the second half when Gilardino was set up by Pinzi. In the 64th minute, Pinzi's good game continued as he set up Sculli for Italy's fifth, and a Pinzi cross then also provided Gilardino's hat-trick goal as he headed in.
A fourth Gilardino goal arrived in the 86th minute, and although Wales then hit the post through David Pipe, Italy completed the scoring in stoppage time through AC Milan striker Marco Borriello.
One draw needed
Italy need only to draw in Serbia and Montenegro on Tuesday to secure first place and a play-off berth, when Wales can bounce back and move up into third if they win at home to Finland.