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Italy strikers start doing their job

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POZNAN, Poland — Advancing to the quarterfinals isn't the only positive news for Italy. Now, the Azzurri strikers are also starting to score.

Both Antonio Cassano and substitute Mario Balotelli found the target on Monday in the 2-0 win over Ireland that booked Italy a spot in the last eight of the European Championship.

"That's a great sign, we needed them," Italy captain Gianluigi Buffon said. "While they had great previous matches, they hadn't scored. With their two goals everything was much more straightforward."

Italy's forwards struggled in opening 1-1 draws with Spain and Croatia, and also didn't find the net in three pre-tournament friendlies — all losses.