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Match Fixing Debate Heats Up After Kazakhstan Upsets Italy 16-0

In an unfathomable match that witnessed five red cards and six own goals, Kazakhstan downed Italy 16-0 in a World Cup qualification match yesterday, further fueling speculation over the scale of match fixing in international football.

Ranked 142nd in the world, Kazakhstan had notched just one point in their first four games of qualifying before blowing out the powerful Italian squad in the most lopsided game in European World Cup qualification history since Italy trounced Kazakhstan 17-0 in 2009.

Baurzhan Khairullin, who scored the first three goals of his international career against the Azzuri, including one strike from midfield that beat Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon while he was tying his shoe, described his winning strategy.

"I kick the ball, ball goes in goal!" he said.

Italian midfielder Daniele De Rossi, who was sent off the pitch in the 32nd minute after slapping a linesman, denied allegations of a fix and praised the Kazakhs for their "stunning performance".

"Even though we could throw a match and still qualify for the World Cup in our sleep, Italy would not do this. The Kazakhs played extraordinary football today. Their keeper was unbeatable," De Rossi said.

The Kazakh goalkeeper, a sheep, faced 28 shots from the Italian side, none of which were on goal.

"The sun was very bright today," noted Italian striker Mario Balotelli.

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