Italy coach Cesare Prandelli admits they weren't at their best for last night's 2-0 win over World Cup qualifying opponents Malta.

AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli scored both goals, while Juventus goalkeeper Gigi Buffon pulled off a penalty save.

"We knew there would not be spaces and were perhaps a little too slow in construction, so ran into trouble. We still maintained possession throughout the game. We lacked a bit of intensity in the finishing," said Prandelli.

"We were too distant between defenders and midfielders, so the passes got misplaced. It may seem absurd, but the wind affected the long passes too.

"We did some things well, others not so well. We must learn from this that against clammed-up teams we have to pass the ball short and quick."