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Game Time Thread: Italy vs. Azerbaijan

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I agree, Gigi. I agree.
I agree, Gigi. I agree.
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

All Italy needs to do is win, and they're in.

It's that simple when it comes to the Azzurri's Euro 2016 qualification. It's pretty easy to figure out. And it doesn't matter what the other teams in Italy's group does. Once they get the three points, it's a done deal and we'll be seeing Antonio Conte running up and down the sidelines at the European Championship in France next summer.

Of course, an Italian team doing anything simple can sometimes be a task that is a little out of the realm of possibilities, but a can dream, right?

Italy haven't exactly been the most impressive in qualifying thus far. But, as Italian as it gets, Conte's squad continues to grind out results despite the fact their overall play hasn't exactly been the most free-flowing or glamorous thus far.

But what Italy has lacked in substance they've been able to overcome it and get results. Thus the reason they find themselves on the brink of qualification. Sure, this is what everybody expected to have happen because Italy, regardless of what's happened at major tournaments lately, is still Italy and there will always be some form of lofty expectations attached to the squad.

So, I guess qualification for next summer's tournament is just another step in the process. At least they can bring three points back with them after 90 or so minutes even if they aren't going to play the best of games. We can always be greedy, but I would like to think a win is the most important thing in all of this. It will certainly be that kind of situation about nine months from now in the land of Paul Pogba, Patrice Evra and Didier Deschamps.

Told ya.

Lineups

Italy XI: Buffon; Darmian, Bonucci, Chiellini, De Sciglio; Candreva, Verratti, Parolo, El Shaarawy; Pellè, Eder

Italy bench: Padelli, Sirigu, Barzagli, Santon, Florenzi, Soriano, Bonaventura, Montolivo, Bertolacci, Zaza, Giovinco, Quagliarella

Azerbaijan XI: K Agayev; Medvedev, Huseynov, R F Sadygov, Dashdemirov; Garayev; Ismayilov, Eddy, Amirguliyev, Nazarov; R Gurbanov

Azerbaijan bench: A Mammadov, Nazirov, Pashayev, Abisov, Guliyev, Mirzabekov, Sadygov, E Mammadov, Erat, Hajiyev, Jafarov

How to watch

TV: ESPN Deportes (United States); Sportsnet One (Canada); RAI Uno (Italy); Sky Sports 3/HD (United Kingdom)

Online: ESPN3/WatchESPN (United States); Sky Go UK (United Kingdom)

Other live viewing options can be found here, and as always, you can also follow along with us live on Twitter. If you haven't already, join the community on Black & White & Read All Over, and join in the discussion below.