Italy completed their qualification program for the 2010 World Cup with a victory over Cyprus in Parma, as Alberto Gilardino scored an incredible hat-trick in the last 13 minutes as the Azzurri overturned a 2-0 deficit to win 3-2.
The Azzurri had clinched their place at next year’s finals in South Africa following their dramatic 2-2 draw in Ireland on Saturday night.
Already assured of top spot in Group 8, Italy were looking to finish their campaign on a high but coach Marcello Lippi changed the entire team from Dublin. The hero from Croke Park, Alberto Gilardino, led a three pronged attack featuring Fabio Quagliarella and Giuseppe Rossi. Rino Gattuso returned in midfield, as did captain Fabio Cannavaro in defense after his suspension. Salvatore Bocchetti made his full debut at left-back.