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Immobile header gives Italy win after sluggish first half

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Immobile header gives Italy win after sluggish first half

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MILAN (Reuters) – Italy recovered from Saturday’s mauling by Spain to beat Israel 1-0 in their World Cup qualifier on Tuesday, although it was far from plain sailing as they were jeered by the home crowd at halftime. Forward Ciro Immobile came to Italy’s rescue early in the second half when he headed the only goal in the Group G game after a sluggish first-half performance saw the four-times world champions roundly booed at the break. Italy stayed second with 13 points and on course for a playoff place, a nerve-wracking prospect which already has the Italian public and media on edge. The nine group winners qualify directly for Russia, and the best eight runners-up take part in a playoff round for a further four places.

(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Hugh Lawson)
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