At times, things certainly looked dicey for Italy in Armenia. Andrea Barzagli and Leonardo Bonucci were poor, allowing Armenia to slip behind the defense. Sebastian Giovinco was unimpressive. Henrik Mkhitaryan was threatening. It was no surprise, really, that the score was 1-1 at the halftime whistle. But in the end, Italy dug deep and pulled off a 3-1 win, placing them alone at the top of Group B.
In other unsurprising news, it was Andrea Pirlo who scored the first for Italy. As the visitors surged forward, a shot hit the arm of Armenian defender Hrayr Mkoyan. A rather harsh penalty was given, which Pirlo took calmly, a slow roller that sent Roman Berezovski the wrong way.
The equalizer came when Armenia took advantage of a clash of heads between Christian Maggio and Davit Manoyan. There was no whistle, and the hosts played on, with Mkhitaryan able to slip in behind Barzagli and slot his shot into the opposite corner.
Armenia came out for the second half determined to take all three points, but Gigi Buffon had other ideas. He held off the onslaught for long enough to allow Italy to get back in front. Pirlo was again involved, curling in a spectacular cross. Daniele De Rossi was waiting in the box, his diving header hitting the crossbar and dropping in.
Just in case Armenia had any ideas about coming back to collect a point, Pablo Osvaldo put those thoughts to rest with a header off Roma teammate De Rossi's free kick. It may not have been flawless from the azzurri, but it's enough to keep them on top and advancing toward Brazil.