PALERMO, Sicily (AP) — Italy achieved its biggest win in more than 70 years when it beat Armenia 9-1 in its last qualifier for the 2020 European Championship on Monday.
Italy’s biggest win since a 9-0 result against the United States in 1948 featured three Italians scoring their first international goals.
Nicolò Zaniolo, debutant Riccardo Orsolini, and Federico Chiesa all got off the mark to help Italy to a record-extending 11th successive victory.
Chiesa hit the woodwork twice before finishing off the scoring for Italy nine minutes from time.
Italy, which had already qualified for Euro 2020 as Group J winner, ensured it progressed with a perfect record of 10 wins in 10 matches. It also beat the United States in a friendly last year.
“You don’t score nine goals in an international match by chance,” Italy coach Roberto Mancini said. “They gave everything.
“They’re all young lads who are improving match by match, they just need time. ... We have six months to prepare for the European Championship, we have to improve a few things, and then the difficulty will be to unfortunately leave someone at home who deserves to be there.”
Italy was 2-0 up after less than 10 minutes and 4-0 at halftime following a Ciro Immobile brace, Zaniolo’s goal, and one for Nicolò Barella.
There was a less frantic start to the second period but Zaniolo added another in the 64th and Alessio Romagnoli bundled in a rebound and Jorginho converted a penalty.
Edgar Babayan pulled one back for Armenia between the goals for Orsolini and Chiesa.