Italy fails to clinch World Cup play-off spot

Italy have unveiled their new 2018 home kit that will be worn by Gianluigi Buffon on Friday

Confidence was low after last month's 3-0 loss in Spain but, despite winning only 3-2 in Skopje a year ago thanks to a stoppage-time goal, Italy was expected to easily sweep away Macedonia in Turin.

Italy have officially unveiled their 2018 home kit, which will be worn by legend Gianluigi Buffon in the country's World Cup qualifier against Macedonia.

Such an eventuality could spell doom for a once-proud nation.

In the standing table of UEFA World Cup Qualifiers, Italy is in the second place with 19 points and Macedonia is in the fifth place with seven points. Certainly the FIGC is weighing the risks of sacking Ventura immediately and risk a disjointed team effort in Albania against the negatives of fielding a team with little confidence and cohesiveness.

Italy went ahead when a session of head tennis ended with Insigne slipping a ball through the Macedonia defence to release Immobile on the left and he laid the ball off for central defender Chiellini to tap in from close range.

"The result is not positive, it is not what we wanted, nor what we expected", said the former Torino coach.

"We need to get the crowd on our side because they can help us".


"The second half was disappointing", Italy coach Gian Piero Ventura said.

"There is still a game to play, then we'll tackle the playoffs". The fans might well be disappointed but we must have their support at a time of need like this.

"I think a lack of fitness levels made a big difference and when that drops, the sharpness goes, so we could not develop anything more".

Records just tumble when Gianluigi Buffon is around.

On the whistles he faced as the tide turned against Italy in Turin, Ventura added: "Italy should never be whistled, the team represents all of us".

"Players like me who have been here for 20 years need to find a way to drag the other boys forward so we can give Italy the best chance of getting to the World Cup".

Macedonia will likely sit deep and look to soak up Italian pressure, but the hosts should have more than enough to breach any rearguard action.

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