Italy vs Macedonia UEFA World Cup Qualifying

Italy have unveiled their new 2018 home kit that will be worn by Gianluigi Buffon on Friday

Macedonia has been eliminated from a chance at participating in the next World Cup but Italy is in a contested battle with Spain for the first-place spot out of Group G.

But the goal failed to inspire the four-times world champions and they were stunned when Aleksandar Trajkovski, who plays for Palermo in the Italian league's second tier, equalised in the 77th minute.

"I think the whistles were an expression of disapproval by the crowd and they were in response to how we got on".

"The result is not positive, it is not what we wanted, nor what we expected", said the former Torino coach.

Coach Giampiero Ventura blamed Italy's poor fitness levels for their dismal second half. "There was a setback and jeers are never pleasing, as we'd always want to be supported by our fans, but in this case they were justified".

"There is still a game to play, then we'll tackle the playoffs".

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".

Simona Halep defeated Shaparova for the first time în her career
In the quarter-finals, she meets the victor between 11th-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland and Russian Daria Kasatkina. After not playing Maria Sharapova in two years, Simona Halep played against the Russian for the second time in six weeks.

The setback against 103rd-ranked Macedonia could also have a negative impact on Italy's world ranking - now 17th - as they bid to ensure a favourable seeding for the play-off draw next month.

"The only thing that matters now is getting our energy back, recover a few players and go to achieve what this group deserves, which is a place in the play-offs".

Goalscorer Giorgio Chiellini has urged Italy fans to remain behind their nation as the Azzurri head into the uncertainty of the World Cup qualifying playoffs.

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

"We put in a good first half performance, but the second was insufficient and unfortunately Macedonia got the equaliser".

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

"I went off to avoid taking any risks", said the 36-year-old.

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