Italy coach Marcello Lippi could not hide his delight after his side took a giant step towards qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™.

Gli Azzurri beat Bulgaria 2-0 with first-half goals from Juventus pair Fabio Grosso and Vincenzo Iaquinta to move closer towards a place in the finals next June. "I am very happy for my players," said Lippi. "Our team has a lot of quality. We have scored two splendid goals but we could have scored four or five."

Lippi's men showed an improved performance from their 2-0 triumph over Georgia on Saturday. "We are getting there," he said. "We are still not in top form."

The outcome sees the world champions go four points clear at the top of Group 8 and leaves them needing just a point away to second-placed Ireland in October to go through.

"With a draw in Dublin we will qualify," said Lippi. "Even if we were to lose that game we would still have another game [against Cyprus] to make it to South Africa next year."