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Key Events

A. Nedyalkov
Yellow Card
R. Tolói
Yellow Card
A. Iliev
K. Despodov
1 - 1
G. Yomov
Yellow Card
F. Chiesa
1 - 0

Match Stats

79% 21%
Shots Off Target
Shots On Target 8 2
Total Passes 811 218
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Live table
Pos Team P W D L F A +/- PTS Form
1 Switzerland SUI Switzerland 8 5 3 0 15 2 +13 18 W D W W D
2 Italy ITA Italy 8 4 4 0 13 2 +11 16 D D W D D
3 Northern Ireland NIR Northern Ireland 8 2 3 3 6 7 -1 9 D W L L D
4 Bulgaria BUL Bulgaria 8 2 2 4 6 14 -8 8 L W L W D
5 Lithuania LTU Lithuania 8 1 0 7 4 19 -15 3 L L W L L


Final Tournament


Bulgaria host Lithuania next, while Italy travel to Switzerland for what will be a crucial match at the top of Group C. Italy are not infallible. On this evidence Switzerland will fancy their chances. That's all for now. Goodbye!
Italy remain top of Group C with 10 points from four games. It's a frustrating point for Mancini's men, especially at home, but they're allowed an off day after their Euro 2020 exploits. Bulgaria stay fourth in the group. They're unlikely to get out of Group C but they've proved they'll cause the other teams that face them problems.
Italy have been held to a draw by a battling Bulgaria side. The European champions looked as efficient as ever in the first half until Iliev equalised for the visitors. Italy slightly lost their way in the second period as Bulgaria largely restricted them to half-chances.
90' + 5' Verratti is irritated as his pass goes astray. Bulgaria take their time taking the goal-kick and that's that!
90' + 3' Bulgaria are doing well to win a series of niggly free-kicks in Italy's half to wind the clock down. Italy might get one last chance to win this but they don't deserve it.
90' + 1' Malinov drifts into the right of Italy's box and manages to get a shot away. It's blocked but Italy have to be careful.
L. Pellegrini
90' + 1' Italy substitution. Emerson goes off. The Roma captain Pellegrini comes on.
90' Italy have five additional minutes in which to find the winning goal. Bulgaria don't look like scoring again.
88' Italy are sending more and more players forward now. The hosts win yet another corner, their 10th of the match, as Raspadori's shot is blocked by Kostadinov. Chiesa's delivery lands to Berardi who's waiting outside the box. Acerbi goes for goal but has his shot charged down.
A. Nedyalkov
Yellow Card
86' Nedyalkov is booked for stopping the run of Berardi.
85' Bonucci runs up to take the free-kick but blasts it high and wide. Italy have not been at their best in this second half.
83' Italy get a free-kick inside the D as Malinov brings down Ederson. This is a promising shooting position for the hosts.
81' Cristante drags a slightly desperate shot wide from outside the box. Bulgaria will take shots like that all day long.
79' It's another Italy corner as Berardi flashes a cross across Bulgaria's six-yard box and Nedyalkov pokes it out of play. Again Bulgaria are untroubled as Bonucci heads over from Berardi's ball in.
77' Bulgaria have yet to have a shot in this half. For all Italy's positional dominance, they're lacking some cutting edge.
K. Malinov
P. Vitanov
75' Next on for Bulgaria is Malinov. He replaces Vitanov.
R. Kirilov
K. Despodov
75' It's Bulgarian's turn to make changes now. Despodov, who created Bulgaria's goal, goes off. Kirilov is his replacement.
G. Raspadori
C. Immobile
75' Immobile's game is also over. The Sassuolo forward Raspadori replaces him.
D. Berardi
L. Insigne
74' Mancini makes a few more changes. Berardi is on for Insigne.
R. Tolói
Yellow Card
74' Toloi's bad challenge earns him a yellow card. Italy look a little frustrated.
73' Georgiev saves Immobile's shot from the left of the box. Acerbi's follow-up is blocked. Krastev buys Bulgaria a valuable free-kick as Toloi catches him with his foot.
71' Italy win their seventh corner of the game through a slick move down their right. It ends in another Italy corner. This time Bulgaria get rid, but not for long. The visitors are having to stay focused.
K. Krastev
A. Iliev
70' Bulgaria make another change. Iliev, their goalscorer, goes off. The CSKA Sofia striker Krastev comes on.
68' Cristante crashes an effort against a defender from near the D. Play continues. The substitute tries to force the issue by shooting again, this time firing wide. Bulgaria are holding firm for now.
66' Insigne spots an opening near the bottom left corner of Georgiev's goal and looks to exploit it. Georgiev sees the threat though and comes across to stop the shot.
65' Bulgaria enjoy their first short spell in Italy's half for a while. It soon breaks down though and Itraly are back on the attack. Cristante wins them a corner.
R. Tolói
A. Florenzi
64' Next to come on is Toloi. He takes the place of Florenzi who was beaten for Bulgaria's goal.
B. Cristante
N. Barella
63' Italy are beginning to make changes. Cristante replaces Barella first.
61' Georgiev makes a great save from Chiesa! Chiesa pulls off a beautiful turn on the edge of the box to find some space to shoot. Georgiev makes himself big to send the ball spinning out for a corner. Bonucci's resulting header is straight at the keeper.
60' Insigne cuts inside from the right and plops a ball in the box that arrives straight to Georgiev. Italy won't break the deadlock that way.
59' Barella lashes into the side netting from the right of the box as Chiesa plays the midfielder in. Italy are growing in menace.
58' Bulgaria have spent all their time defending so far in this half. Georgiev sweeps up Barella's throughball with Immobile lurking.
I. Chochev
D. Yankov
57' Bulgaria substitution. Chochev replaces Yankov in central midfield.
56' Insigne's corner is again cleared. Chiesa and Emerson both take potshots from range but Bulgaria throw their bodies in the way of both.
55' Chiesa receives a pass from Barella to the right of the box and crashes the ball against a defender. It bounces out for another Italy corner.
54' Emerson forces a corner for Italy down their left. Insigne swings it in towards the penalty spot and Bulgaria clear it first-time.
52' Verratti finds Immobile with a deft dink into the box. Again Immobile has darted in behind a touch early and is offside.
50' Italy keep the pressure on, winning another corner off Hristov. Bulgaria survive. Make no mistake though, Italy want their lead back.
48' Italy start the half brightly as Immobile has a shot cleared off the line! The striker latches onto Jorginho's pass and lures Georgiev out of his net, trying to squeeze the ball past the goalkeeper from a difficult angle. Vitanov gets back to put it out for a corner.
46' Italy get the second half going. Mancini has resisted making changes for now.
S. Delev
G. Yomov
46' Bulgaria make a change at half-time. Delev replaces the booked Yomov on the right wing.
Italy had 75 per cent of the ball in that first half but have been waiting for the right moments to shoot so far, racking up just eight shots to Bulgaria's three. You sense they could up their game in the second half. Bulgaria's equaliser will give them belief that they can get something out of this though. They'll want to keep targeting Florenzi who's struggled with Despodov's runs.
It's all square between Italy and Bulgaria at the break. As expected, Italy have been the superior side but haven't been able to finish as many chances as they would like despite Chiesa giving them the lead. Bulgaria have had one decent opportunity thanks to some silky skill by Despodov and Iliev took it. More to come!
43' Italy almost regain the lead! Bonucci looks for Insigne with an accurate ball straight over the top. Insigne takes it down with a nice tough and gets his shot away immediately, forcing Georgiev to rush out and save with his left foot.
41' Italy look to resume normal service. Immobile stays down in the box as he challenges for an aerial pass and gets sandwiched between Nedyalkov and Antov. The referee waves for him to get up.
K. Despodov
39' Iliev's finish was clinical but Despodov's assist was very cheeky indeed. The winger's not been afraid of running straight at Florenzi and got the better of him there.
A. Iliev
39' GOAL! ITALY 1-1 BULGARIA! Bulgaria grab an unexpected equaliser! It's a beauty too. Despodov bursts past Florenzi and crosses low into the centre with the outside of his right foot. Iliev is there to steer the ball past Donnarumma.
37' Italy aren't rushing here. They know a second goal is likely to come. Chiesa crosses in from the right and Georgiev goes safety-first by punching it away.
35' Immobile races down the right-hand channel and blasts at Georgiev at his near post. Georgiev gets low to make the save. Insigne follows up from the edge of the box and bounces an effort wide.
33' Verratti's touch lets him down and Kostadinov tries to carry Bulgaria forward. He has no options though and Italy soon crowd him out.
G. Yomov
Yellow Card
31' Yomov becomes the first Bulgarian player in the book for a hard tackle on Verratti.
30' Immobile mistimes his run forward and attracts the ire of the offside flag. This Italy side move the ball wonderfully. They're always looking for the incisive pass.
28' Italy patiently build their next attack. Florenzi fires in a cross-cum-shot from the right but it's too close to Georgiev.
26' Immobile tests Georgiev with a tame shot from outside the box. The Bulgarian goalkeeper drops to his knees to grab it.
N. Barella
Yellow Card
26' Barella's shown the first yellow card of the game for a poor tackle on Vitanov off the ball.
24' Bulgaria give the ball away in their own defensive third and Italy pounce but are unable to create a shooting opportunity. The Bulgarians have nowhere to go though so Italy come roaring straight back. It's one-way traffic at the moment.
22' The offside flag goes up against Italy again. They are stretching the play at every opportunity. Meanwhile, Bulgaria have another free-kick in Italy's half. The hosts handle it well though and force a handball by Kostadinov.
20' Despodov looks to beat Florenzi and leaves his opposing full-back on the turf as he is unable to do so fairly. Italy are awarded the foul.
18' Italy have found the net with their first shot on target. Now that's ruthless efficiency for you. They've wasted no time at all in showing Bulgaria why they're European champions.
F. Chiesa
16' GOAL! ITALY 1-0 BULGARIA! Chiesa darts inside from the right and plays a neat one-two with Immobile to set up a shot from the edge of the box. The winger goes for goal with his left foot and accurately finds the bottom right corner.
15' Bulgaria's free-kick doesn't work out as Hristov's header loops into the arms of Donnarumma. Italy keep play moving and...
14' Bulgaria are hustling and bustling up front but haven't found the right pass to free their wingers yet. Jorginho catches the foot of Despodov in the centre of the pitch, handing the visitors a free-kick.
12' Chance for Italy! Emerson spots the run of Insigne who goes for goal from a tight angle to the left of the six-yard box. The striker can't get his angles right and his effort rolls wide of the near post.
11' Chiesa tries to chase onto a crossfield ball too early and winds up offside.
10' Barella reaches the byline down the right and flings in a high cross but Georgiev claims it comfortably.
8' Insigne has a shot from range blocked. Italy are too intricate in front of Bulgaria's box and Yankov nips in, attracting a tug from Jorginho. That'll be a free-kick. The hosts soon win the ball back but Immobile is penalised for a shove on Kostadinov.
6' Iliev holds up the ball well but loses out to a tackle in the centre circle. Italy are already taking control.
4' Bonucci pings a sweeping pass out wide to Emerson who's bombing down the left. Italy pass back to Jorginho but the Chelsea man's ball from deep dips wide of the right-hand post.
2' Italy start the game full of confidence, as they have every right to. Emerson strays offside as he tries to latch onto Bonucci's throughball.
1' Bulgaria, playing in their red and green away colours, get this game underway! Italy are wearing their blue and black home strip.
The two sides are out on the pitch in Florence. Italy sing their national anthem with typical gusto.
Bulgaria's last game was a 3-0 defeat to France in the run-up to Euro 2020. There are six changes to their side from that game three months ago with Yasen Petrov's players set to line up in a 4-3-3 formation.
Italy are largely unchanged from the team that defeated England in the Euro 2020 final. Their two changes are in defence as Acerbi and Florenzi come in for Giorgio Chiellini and Giovanni Di Lorenzo.
SUBS: Ivan Turitsov, Kaloyan Krastev, Nikolay Mihaylov, Spas Delev, Kristiyan Malinov, Radoslav Kirilov, Vasil Bozhikov, Ilian Ilianov Iliev, Ivaylo Chochev, Dimitar Iliev, Dimitar Velkovski, Daniel Naumov.
BULGARIA (4-3-3): Georgi Georgiev; Andrea Hristov, Valentin Ivaylov Antov, Petko Hristov, Anton Nedyalkov; Georgi Kostadinov (c), Petar Vitanov, Dominik Yankov; Kiril Despodov, Atanas Iliev, Georgi Yomov.
SUBS: Giacomo Raspadori, Rafael Toloi, Alessandro Bastoni, Cristiano Biraghi, Salvatore Sirigu, Bryan Cristante, Federico Bernardeschi, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Gaetano Castrovilli, Domenico Berardi, Giorgio Chiellini, Pierluigi Gollini.
ITALY (4-3-3): Gianluigi Donnarumma; Alessandro Florenzi, Leonardo Bonucci (c), Francesco Acerbi, Emerson; Nicolo Barella, Jorginho, Marco Verratti; Federico Chiesa, Ciro Immobile, Lorenzo Insigne.
Bulgaria sit fourth in Group C after three games with just a solitary point to their name up to this point. The Southeastern Europeans already face an uphill struggle to qualify for the World Cup finals with Italy and Switzerland currently front of the pack. Should they win here in Florence, it would be an almighty upset.
Having become European champions earlier this year, Italy's sights now turn to next year's World Cup. Roberto Mancini's men have picked up maximum points in Group C so far and look one of the strongest contenders to lift the biggest trophy of all in Qatar next year, provided that they get there.
Hello! Welcome to our live text commentary of this 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification UEFA Group C match between Italy and Bulgaria at Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence.