Italy held by Macedonia 1-1, nearly into World Cup 2018 playoffs
08 October, 2017, 01:18 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
Macedonia poured forward in the second half with striker Trajkovski picking up a cross from skipper Goran Pandev to blast past Buffon, the veteran goalkeeper decked out in the new Azzurri blue kit with the restyled logo for the 2018 World Cup finals in Russian Federation.
Gli Azzurri pretty much has at least a spot in the playoffs secured but will be looking for that direct spot for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Such an eventuality could spell doom for a once-proud nation.
Piero Ventura blasted his side's second-half performance in Friday's 1-1 draw with Macedonia, conceding that they could struggle in the World Cup play-offs if they do not improve quickly. 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.
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The Azzurri barely got out of second gear against stubborn visitors, but took a first-half lead through Giorgio Chiellini.
"The result is not positive, it is not what we wanted, nor what we expected", said the former Torino coach. The fans might well be disappointed but we must have their support at a time of need like this.
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 have a match waiting for us in Albania (on Monday) before the play-offs and we'll go out there to play.
Veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, however, feels the jeers from fans were largely justified.
"I thought we defended well and made the most of a counter-attack". "I think the whistles were deserved, even if I think you should never jeer the national side as a point of principle".
He told reporters: "If we play like we did in the second half then we will struggle to get through the play-offs".
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.
"I went off to avoid taking any risks", said the 36-year-old.
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