Italy live updates

Italy and Holland book places in Brazil

Italy and Holland became the first European teams to book their places at next summer's World Cup finals.

Italy had to come from behind to seal their place with two games to spare after former Lazio frontman Libor Kozak fired Czech Republic ahead after 19 minutes in Turin.

Giorgio Chellini headed the Azzurri level on 52 minutes, when Petr Cech failed to deal with a corner, before Mario Balotelli stroked home the winning penalty moments later.

Robin van Persie sent Holland through to Brazil with a second-half double in a 2-0 win over Andorra.

After Turkey beat Romania 2-0 in Bucharest earlier in the evening, the Dutch knew victory would be enough to confirm their place in the World Cup finals.

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Balo misses out

Mario Balotelli has withdrawn from the Italy squad ahead of Wednesday night's friendly meeting with Argentina after suffering a knee injury in training.

The AC Milan striker, who was forced to leave last month's Confederations Cup campaign in Brazil early with a leg injury, will be unable to line up against the South American nation at Rome's Stadio Olimpico in a game organised in deference to recently elected Pope Francis, who is Argentinian.

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Papal meeting

The Italy and Argentina squads will be granted an audience with the Pope at an international friendly at Rome's Stadio Olimpico next month, the Italian Football Federation has confirmed.

Pope Francis - born Jorge Mario Bergoglio - became the first Argentinian pope upon his election in March and the footballing federations of both Italy and his homeland have now agreed to "pay homage" to the pontiff.

On this day - Italy scrape past Republic of Ireland

Salvatore Schillaci (left) and Roberto Baggio celebrate after their win. Credit: PA

Italy beat Jack Charlton's Republic of Ireland 1-0 in Rome to progress to the World Cup semi-finals during Italia '90 thanks to a goal from Salvatore Schillaci.

Brazil thump Italy 4-2 in Confed Cup – Neymar can't stop scoring

Neymar in fine form one year out from his home World Cup. Credit: PA

Brazil finished top of Confederations Cup Group A by beating Italy 4-2 in their final pool game in Salvador.

Neymar maintained his record of scoring in each match at the tournament so far by netting his team's second goal.

Both teams went into the game already assured of their places in the last four.

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