Italy looking to beat Albania

  • Italy looking to beat Albania

Italy looking to beat Albania

After missing out on automatic qualification, Italy can begin their preparations for the play-offs when they travel to Albania for their final World Cup qualification group game on Monday.

Italy, which was without Claudio Marchisio, Daniele De Rossi, Marco Verratti and Andrea Belotti, didn't have a shot on target after Chiellini's goal, against a side ranked outside the top 100.

While the performance in the opening 45 minutes was enough to achieve a one-goal advantage at the break, a lacklustre second half display saw the game end with the home fans voicing their displeasure at Turin's Stadio Olimpico.

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

"I think the praise was exaggerated before and the criticism is exaggerated now, I had moments that were positive and negative, like all coaches".

Albania are third in the group on 13 points, one ahead of Isreal who entertain Spain tonight.

It could be assured of a playoff berth on Saturday if Bosnia doesn't beat Belgium.

To celebrate Buffon's 20th anniversary as an Italy player, PUMA requested the help of "Kamp Seedorf", a group of artists who specialise in graffiti and football culture, to create murals of the 39-year-old in each country where he has played at a World Cup or will star at. The lag from the Spaniards has grown to five points, but in turn and from Albania the gap is seven points.

"I think that the Spain defeat affected our confidence and it still left a mark on this match", said the Juventus player.

However, the Azzurri struggled to carve out opportunities.

The breakthrough came following a corner, as Lorenzo Insigne's through ball found Ciro Immobile and he rolled on for Chiellini.

It was nearly 1-1 moments later, after a slack Leonardo Bonucci pass gave away possession on the edge of the box, but Chiellini forced a corner.

The Italians have 20 points under their belt from nine games, and their name will be in the hat when the play-off draw is made on October 17 in Zurich.