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In-depth report: Ruthless Italians show just what Northern Ireland are missing in opening World Cup qualifier

Italy 2-0 Northern Ireland

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Italy players celebrate as they put Northern Ireland to the sword during a clinical first half.

Italy players celebrate as they put Northern Ireland to the sword during a clinical first half.

William Cherry/Presseye

Italy players celebrate as they put Northern Ireland to the sword during a clinical first half.

A brave, bold and battling second half performance from Northern Ireland in Parma last night was unable to eradicate first half errors which ultimately cost Ian Baraclough's men dear.

Northern Ireland showed plenty of heart and desire inside the empty Stadio Ennio Tardini during their opening World Cup qualifier against Italy but they were always fighting an uphill battle against one of the top sides in the world following a first-half disaster.


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