Italy demolished minnows Liechtenstein 5-0 at Dacia Arena in Udine to keep level on points with Group G leaders Spain in the qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup Russia.
Only a larger goal difference put the Spaniards ahead of the Italians in the group, as both nations have five wins and one draw in six games in the qualifiers.
The top team after 10 games will go on to the final tournament, while the runners-up will have to go through a play-off tournament against the runners-up from other groups to get into the next round.
Lorenzo Insigne opened the rout with his third career goal for Italy, as he drilled home Leonardo Spinazzola’s pass with a fantastic volley in the 35th minute.
The Napoli attacker then turned provider for the hosts’ second goal, when his through ball found its way to Andrea Belloti, who put on a clinical finish to beat Peter Jehle.
Italy looked on pace to go home with a 2-0 win but their substitutes had other ideas, with Eder Martins scoring off a beautiful two-man game with Belotti in the 74th minute.
Federico Bernadeschi, another sub, smashed home in the 82nd minute to make it 4-0 for the Azzurri, then third substitute Manolo Gabbiadini converted Spinazzola’s low cross to compete the 5-0 demolition.
Italy will get a chance to take the top spot from Spain as the pair meets at Bernabeu in Madrid in September.