Italy fails to clinch World Cup play-off spot

Katrina Barker
October 8, 2017

Macedonia does have some notable players like team captain Goran Pandev but there is a very evident quality gap between the two teams.

In the head to head record between these two teams, they have played one match in UEFA World Cup Qualifiers a year ago.

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

Giorgio Chiellini's first-half goal was cancelled out by Aleksandar Trajkovski as Italy struggled to a 1-1 draw against Macedonia in Turin on Friday, condemning the four-time champions to the World Cup play-offs.

Italy remained second in Group G, five points behind Spain, and can't be caught heading into the last round of European qualifiers.

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. I had moments that were positive and negative, like all coaches.

"If Italy play like we did in the second half with Macedonia, we'll struggle in the play-offs", said Italy's coach.

Victory would have assured Gian Piero Ventura's side of another chance to qualify behind group victor Spain, but it was unable to see out a win in Torino.

"We lacked that conviction and confidence that you always need on the pitch because that gives you the certainty in your movements". We're already playing for the playoffs.

Veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, however, feels the jeers from fans were largely justified.

"I think the praise was exaggerated before and the criticism is exaggerated now".

"We're really frustrated. We are sorry for the fans, we understand them and we are as upset as they are, but I am sure they will support us when we need them", said Chiellini.

GIANPIERO VENTURA, Italy national coach, on their poor second-half performance against Macedonia.

"Maybe we thought that we're better than we are, even if a 1-0 win wouldn't have changed anything and a draw just extends a cycle that we need to get out of fast through pride, determination and a sense of responsibility".

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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