Quagliarella becomes Italy's oldest goalscorer

After becoming the oldest goalscorer in Italy's history on a memorable night, Fabio Quagliarella was full of gratitude.

Fabio Quagliarella became Italy's oldest goalscorer in a Euro 2020 Qualifier match against Liechtenstein.   -  Getty Images

Fabio Quagliarella insisted he does not feel 36 as the veteran reflected on a "beautiful evening" that saw him become Italy's oldest goalscorer in a thumping 6-0 win over 10-man Liechtenstein.

Sampdoria striker Quagliarella – the top scorer in Serie A this season with 21 goals – converted two first-half penalties in an emphatic Euro 2020 qualifying win for Roberto Mancini's side.

Tuesday's match in Parma was the veteran's first competitive Italy start since a World Cup qualifier against Cyprus in October 2009, and the first time he had been named in an Azzurri starting XI in any fixture since a 2010 friendly against Switzerland.

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After a dream international break that also saw him come on as a late substitute in Saturday's win over Finland, Quagliarella showed his gratitude to Mancini, his team-mates, and the home support who gave him a standing ovation when he was replaced with 18 minutes remaining.

Quagliarella told Rai: "I am 36 years old, but I don't feel it! It's a beautiful evening, wonderful with two goals. 

"I have not played in the national team for quite some time, so being back here and helping is a great feeling. I am happy, I feel physically in good shape, I am calm and I train continuously, which is fundamental. Sampdoria are putting me in a good position too.

"I thank Roberto Mancini, who watched me throughout the whole season and gave me this opportunity.

"I thank both Jorginho and Leonardo Bonucci for their gesture to let me take the penalties - they both urged me to, even though they were the designated takers. I thought after the first, when second was awarded, surely one of them would step up, but they told me it was my night."

Italy's previous oldest scorer was Christian Panucci, who was 35 when he found the net against Romania in Euro 2008.

He added: "Thanks to my team-mates, as they urged me to get a third in the second half.  It didn't arrive but I thank them because they all wanted to help me score and it was marvellous.

"I also wanted to thank the fans, as that standing ovation is a memory I will always take with me. The applause was great.  We are Italy, this is the kind of game we need to be playing. We're top of the group and it's a young squad that can only grow."

 

The country's biggest win since beating Turkey in 1962 by the same scoreline also saw Stefano Sensi get his first international goal, Marco Verratti net his first for Italy in over six years, as well as a debut strike for Leonardo Pavoletti, who had just replaced Quagliarella.

Moise Kean also scored, and a thrilled Mancini said: "We had the right approach from the start. The win was probably to be assumed, but it was important to keep the right concentration levels, create lots of chances and score plenty of goals.

"In June, Bosnia and Greece will probably be fundamental games for the group."