Buffon and Verratti brush of Italian jeers

Gianluigi Buffon and Marco Verratti were unimpressed with the jeers aimed at Italy during Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Israel in World Cup qualifying.

Ciro Immobile’s goal early in the second half helped the Azzurri retain the play-off spot in Group G, but the local fans were far from pleased with the performance.

“Yes, there were jeers at times when we couldn’t find a way through, but that is part of our philosophy,” Buffon told Rai Sport.

“Nobody cares about possession in Italy. In Spain if they make 200 passes in 20 metres, everyone applauds, here they jeer.

“We tried to force the situation to go towards the taste of the crowd, so inevitably ran a few risks at the back.”

Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Verratti agreed with the Juventus captain, as Italy resigned themselves to a play-off spot, rather than automatic qualification, following Saturday’s 3-0 defeat to Spain.

“I don’t agree with the jeers, nor the criticism,” Verratti told Rai Sport. “It’s never easy at international level, just look at France drawing with Luxembourg or Sweden beaten by Belarus.

“Italy fans are always pessimistic, but we know that things change quickly here and all it takes is one good performance to be considered a phenomenon, one bad game to be called unworthy of the shirt.

“We have won all our games in qualifying apart from against Spain, we must admit that at this point in time they are superior to us.

“We dominated Israel in terms of possession, with shots on goal and should’ve won by a bigger margin, so we need to be more efficient.”

With a six-point lead over third-placed Albania, Italy are expected to secure a play-off place with wins in their final two qualifiers against Macedonia and Albania next month.

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