How to Watch Italy vs. Macedonia

Buffon will fulfil his desire to wear the famous blue shirt against Macedonia on Friday

Spain sealed its place in the 2018 World Cup as Group G victor after storming to a 3-0 win over Albania on Friday with a ruthless first half display, while nearest challenger Italy was held to a 1-1 draw by Macedonia.

The Azzurri are three points behind Spain in second place in Group G and so have little hope of being able to qualify directly for next year's tournament, even if they win their last two qualifiers.

Spain have qualified top of Group G after thrashing Albania 3-0 to book their place at the 2018 World Cup in Russian Federation.

"At this point we need a psychological turning point".

"The second half was disappointing", Italy coach Gian Piero Ventura said. We have a match waiting for us in Albania (tomorrow) before the play-offs and we'll go out there to play.

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.

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

"I thought we defended well and made the most of a counter-attack".




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".

Serie A veteran Goran Pandev, now of Genoa, nearly grabbed a surprise opener for Macedonia when sneaking into a good position to make Gianluigi Buffon work hard to defuse his powerful shot.

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

He told reporters: "If we play like we did in the second half then we will struggle to get through the play-offs".

Macedonia's positive second-half display was rewarded 13 minutes from time when Trajkovski latched onto Pandev's throughball to fire an unstoppable shot past Buffon into the bottom-left corner.

"Will we go to the World Cup?"

Buffon has been the captain of Italy since the retirement of former colleague and World Cup winning skipper Fabio Cannavaro in 2010.

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