Italy held by Macedonia 1-1, nearly into World Cup 2018 playoffs

Italy vs Macedonia live streaming free

Coach Giampiero Ventura blamed Italy's poor fitness levels for their dismal second half.

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.

If Immobile and his fellow attackers can break the deadlock early Italy will be in with a good chance of claiming the heavy victory they will likely want.

On the occasion of his 172nd cap, he told Sky Sport Italia: "The favourite sport at this time of year is to criticise the coach, but I think a team like this and players like us should be winning these games anyway and it doesn't depend on the coach". "I think the whistles were deserved, even if I think you should never jeer the national side as a point of principle". We have a match waiting for us in Albania (tomorrow) before the play-offs and we'll go out there to play.

It was more of the same in the second half with Macedonia content to sit back and wait for an opening.

Italy failed to click after halftime and were given a first warning when Gianluigi Buffon had to smother a header from Ilija Nestorovski.

Amid the mounting injuries - which included midfielders Claudio Marchisio, Daniele de Rossi, Marco Verratti and Lorenzo Pellegrini, not to mention first-choice striker Andrea Belotti - Juventus defender Andrea Barzagli limped off at the end of the first half with a muscle problem. The fans might well be disappointed but we must have their support at a time of need like this.

"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". "But we were missing some players and we were exhausted".

"Will we go to the World Cup? We have to go to Russian Federation".

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.

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