UFC 262 - Oliviera v ChandlerMay 16 LIVE
Ciro Immobile delighted to find the net again for Italy
The striker had not scored for his country since 2017.
Italy striker Ciro Immobile was happy to end an international goal drought stretching back more than two years in Sunday’s European Championship qualifying win over Finland.
Immobile’s header in the 59th minute of the 2-1 win at the Tampere Stadium was his first for the Azzurri since September 5, 2017.
Although Teemu Pukki equalised for the home side, Jorginho’s penalty won it for Italy to maintain their 100 per cent record in Group J and move them closer to qualification for next summer’s tournament.
Lazio striker Immobile said afterwards: “I’ve got rid of something that was hanging around my neck.
“I really wanted to score. I’m getting my confidence back by scoring and I’m happy with this.”
Italy boss Roberto Mancini acknowledged things did not run smoothly as he admitted to the Azzurri’s official Twitter feed: “We created problems for ourselves.
“Then, we took control of things again and all of the guys did well.
“Having more players to choose from can only be a positive. This group is improving.
“Our philosophy is to attack, you’ll give something up at the back when you do that – but the defence is up to it.”
Mancini is already looking forward to qualification, with four group matches remaining and his team nine points clear of third-placed Armenia.
Next up is a home match against Greece on October 12, with a trip to Liechtenstein following three days later.
The former Fiorentina, Lazio and Inter Milan boss added: “The next match could secure qualification for Euro 2020. I want to feel the passion from the fans.”