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Marcello Lippi believes that Italy are practically qualified for the World Cup after going four points clear of Ireland.

“With a draw in Dublin we are mathematically qualified. If we should lose, then we have a home game with Cyprus three days later to finish the job,” said the Coach.

There are only two games left in Group 8 and the Azzurri lead with 20 points to Ireland's 16 thanks to tonight's 2-0 victory over Bulgaria.

Lippi adopted a new diamond midfield formation with seven Juventus players in the starting XI.

“The first half was entertaining and I am happy for the lads, as people try to make them out to be hopeless. They have quality both in terms of commitment and technique.

“We scored two fine goals and could have had four or five. We know that at this time of the season we are never on top form, so we controlled the game after the break and that was wise.”

Fabio Grosso and Vincenzo Iaquinta were both members of the squad that lifted the 2006 World Cup and have effectively allowed Italy to defend that title in South Africa with tonight's goals.

Elsewhere in the group, Cyprus held Montenegro to a 1-1 draw.[football-italia.net]

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