February 26, 2018

Italy need fans' support in times of need - Giorgio Chiellini

08 October 2017, 01:15 | Kara Nash

The new home kit is the first Italy strip to include the country's brand new badge

The new home kit is the first Italy strip to include the country's brand new badge

The result not only means Italy are guaranteed second place behind Spain but the result could have a disastrous impact on their ranking in the draw for November's play-offs.

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.

Ventura has demanded "desire and enthusiasm" from his side ahead of the double header to put them in the healthiest position possible for the play-offs, which take place in November.

"I think Italy should never be jeered, as the team represents all of us", he added.

"I think the praise was exaggerated before and the criticism is exaggerated now". We're already playing for the playoffs.

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

"We're really frustrated. We are sorry for the fans, we understand them and we are as upset as they are, but I am sure they will support us when we need them", said Chiellini.

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Veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon - decked out in the new Azzurri blue kit for the 2018 World Cup - conceded that the four-time world champions were still reeling from last month's rout by Spain.

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.

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

"We have young players who are growing and hope to do even better in future".

"That made a big difference and when that drops, the sharpness goes", he said. "It was a bad game, we need a bit more belief in ourselves, but we are all keen to play and give our all".

Failing to reach the World Cup for the first time since 1958 would certainly bring a swift end to his tenure.

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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