Italy's Giampaolo Pazzini scores against Slovenia during their Euro 2012 qualifying match at the Artemio Franchi stadium in Florence. REUTERS

A late Giampaolo Pazzini goal secured Italy's qualification for the Euro 2012 finals as the Azzurri beat Slovenia 1-0 in Florence on Tuesday.

The victory gives Italy an unassailable eight point lead over nearest challengers Serbia, who beat the Faroe Islands on the same evening.

Cesare Prandelli's side dominated from the outset but struggled to turn possession into goals. Daniele De Rossi had a shot well saved by goalkeeper Jasmin Handanovic, while Riccardo Montolivo also went close.

In the end one goal was enough for the Azzurri, who beat the Faeroe Islands 1-0 on Friday. Claudio Marchisio set up Pazzini who rifled in a shot from a tight angle.

"This was a victory of courage," Pazzini said after the game.

"This was a big goal. I like all my goals, but this one was important for qualifying automatically."