Defending European champions Italy secured their first win of Euro 2024 qualifying with a 2-0 success over Malta in Ta’ Qali, bouncing back from disappointment against England in Naples with a result that extends their unbeaten all-time H2H record against the Falcons to nine matches.
After this early wake-up call, Italy began to work their way into the contest, and Alessio Romagnoli’s effort from range on the quarter-hour mark was tipped over the crossbar for a corner.
Italy knew they needed a second goal to give themselves some breathing space, and the reigning European champions did just that with the half-hour mark approaching, when a ball was fizzed across goal and apparently diverted into the net by Matteo Pessina.
Though eager not to repeat the mistakes that robbed them of the chance to defend their first European crown at Euro 1972, Italy wouldn’t make any further additions before HT.
And with the Azzurri all but over the line, the second half saw very few chances for either side.
That said, Guillaumier came close to halving the deficit with just over 20 minutes remaining, when he headed just over the crossbar from close range.
Regardless, the Azzurri were able to safely negotiate the closing stages to record a victory which lifts them to second behind flawless England, while Malta are rooted to the foot of Group C, and now victorious just twice in 52 Euro qualifiers this century.