Monday, September 10, 2012

2014 World Cup Qualifying Briefs (Europe)

European Championship runner-up Italy was held to a 2-2 draw by Bulgaria in its opening World Cup qualifier Friday despite two goals from Pablo Osvaldo. A rare mistake by goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon allowed Stanislav Manolev to put Bulgaria in front on the half-hour mark, not long after the Italian had pulled off a stunning stop. However, Osvaldo scored his first international goals to give Italy a 2-1 halftime lead. Georgi Milanov leveled for Bulgaria in the 66th minute, however. Italy created few chances and showed little of the form that took it to the Euro 2012 final in July. Italy has never won in Sofia, losing twice and drawing three times. Armenia tops Group B after beating Malta 1-0 earlier in the day. Italy plays Malta in Modena on Tuesday.

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