Italy took a while to break through, and had two unlucky incidents, but eventually crushed Liechtenstein 5-0 in the World Cup qualifier.
Elsewhere in Group G, Spain had to sweat for their 2-1 win away to Macedonia.
The Azzurri continued to test their 4-2-4 formation against the side that was at the bottom of the World Cup qualifying group, yet to earn a single point. As Claudio Marchisio and Marco Verratti were injured, 20-year-old Sassuolo midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini was given his second cap after last week’s 8-0 friendly win over San Marino. Lorenzo Bonucci was rested, as he’s one booking away from suspension and Spain are up next in September. Liechtenstein started Yanik Frick, the 19-year-old son of ex-Verona striker Mario Frick.
Antonio Candreva had the ball in the net within two minutes thanks to a sensational volley, but the goal was incorrectly flagged offside. Ciro Immobile fired straight at the ‘keeper when clear on goal, then the Lazio striker just failed to get on the end of a Candreva ball across the face of goal.
Liechtenstein were pegged back into the final third for long periods, as Italy had some good interplay let down by poor finishing. There was also a lack of communication, as Insigne’s ball to the back post saw both Immobile and Candreva go for it, colliding.
Insigne danced around two tackles on the edge of the box only to scuff the finish, but Liechtenstein had the best chance so far after 30 minutes when Michele Polverino’s scorcher swerved at the last second to skim the near post.
The Nazionale finally broke through with a moment of sheer magic from Insigne. The Napoli talent controlled a Leonardo Spinazzola assist under pressure, flicked it up and with his back practically to goal hooked it up and in off the inside of the far post with an unstoppable lob.
Insigne fed through Immobile, but the goalkeeper rushed off his line to deflect over the bar, then palmed away a Giorgio Chiellini snapshot.
After the restart, Insigne’s diagonal pass released Candreva, but he tried to roll it back instead of going for goal from 10 yards.
Insigne created the second goal, his through ball allowing Belotti to spring the offside trap, open up his right foot and curl into the far bottom corner.
Belotti and Immobile failed to finish off an Insigne counter-attack, including his sombrero flick over a defender, and substitute Federico Bernardeschi immediately fired over from the edge of the box.
Italy should’ve had a penalty, but Belotti was incorrectly flagged offside as he was brought down by Jehle. Eder had the ball in the net, but this time the flag was correct, as he was ahead of the ball when Belotti rolled it across.
Moments later, Eder did get his goal, flying in to meet a wonderful Belotti cross back from the by-line.
Bernardeschi’s scorcher stung the goalkeeper’s gloves and the Fiorentina talent did get his goal eventually with a not dissimilar strike from the edge of the box.
There was a fifth in stoppages, Spinazzola running on to an Insigne through ball and rolling across for Manolo Gabbiadini's tap-in.
Italy 5-0 Liechtenstein
Insigne 36 (I), Belotti 52 (I), Eder 74 (I), Bernardeschi 83 (I), Gabbiadini 91 (I)
Italy: Buffon; Darmian, Barzagli, Chiellini, Spinazzola; Pellegrini, De Rossi; Candreva (Bernardeschi 60), Belotti (Gabbiadini 75), Immobile (Eder 66), Insigne
Liechtenstein: Jehle; Rechsteiner, Malin, Gubser, Goppel; Polverino (Quintans 87); Salanovic (Brandle 59), Hasler, Martin Buchel, Burgmeier (Wolfinger 68); Frick
Ref: Clancy (SCO)