Italy cruise past the Faroes
Playing in front of his club fans at Fiorentina's Artemio Franchi stadium, Gilardino put the Azzurri on their way in the 11th minute. Daniele De Rossi doubled Italy's lead 11 minutes later and Antonio Cassano made it 3-0 before the half-hour mark. Substitute Fabio Quagliarella added another in the 80th minute before Andrea Pirlo capped off a wonderful evening for Italy at the death.
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli got a standing ovation as he returned to Florence, where he coached Fiorentina for five years before joining the national team this summer.
As expected, just five players who started in Friday's 2-1 win over Estonia were included in the starting XI. Bologna's Emiliano Viviano replaced Salvatore Sirigu in goal while Gilardino partnered Giuseppe Rossi and Cassano in attack.
The Azzurri took command in their second Group C match early on and were soon rewarded. Pirlo's corner-kick towards the far post found Gilardino, whose powerful header beat Faroe Islands goalkeeper Gunnar Nielsen.
The hosts continued to push forward and struck again shortly afterwards. Roma midfielder De Rossi got inside the area before firing a bullet strike from six yards past Nielsen. There was little Nielsen could do to deny Italy's third in the 27th minute as he was beaten by Cassano's 20-yard shot into the right corner.
At the other end, Frodi Benjaminsen's free-kick was saved by Viviano.
Italy picked up where they left off after the restart and Gilardino almost added his second of the evening but his volley went wide. Luca Antonelli then forced Nielsen to make a fine save.
In the 80th minute, Quagliarella's right-footed strike from close range towards the bottom right corner found the net. With seconds remaining, Pirlo's curled free-kick beat Nielsen as Italy clinched their second win in Group C.