Italy beats Czech Republic to book World Cup berth - NBC Sports

Italy beats Czech Republic to book World Cup berth
September 10, 2013, 5:00 pm

TURIN, Italy (AP) - Italy secured qualification for the 2014 World Cup with two matches to spare on Tuesday after coming from behind to beat the Czech Republic 2-1.

Nerves were frayed after a first half in which Libor Kozak had given the visitors the lead and Mario Balotelli had missed two sitters as well as hitting the crossbar.

However, Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini headed in the equalizer at his home stadium seven minutes after the break before Balotelli - who has never missed a spot kick in his professional career - scored what was to prove the winner from the penalty spot after he was fouled by Theodor Gebre Selassie.

Italy tops Group B with 20 points, seven more than second-placed Bulgaria which beat Malta 2-1.

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