Soccer: Italy seeded for playoff draw (3)

Candreva's strike earns Azzurri hard-fought victory

(ANSA) - Rome, October 10 - Italy will be seeded for the European World Cup qualifying playoff draw after a second-half strike by Antonio Candreva earned them a laboured 1-0 win in Albania on Monday.
    It was, however, another unconvincing performance from the Azzurri, who were held 1-1 by Macedonia on Friday.
    Italy finished Group G second with 23 points from 10 games, five points behind Spain, who qualified directly for next year's tournament in Russia. "We achieved the objectives set for us," said coach Gian Piero Ventura. "I'm happy for the lads because they always gave a lot. "It's important for all of us to make the World Cup. "This is an important group of players, we have some limits at the moment, but there was a desire to try things. "I was confident when the situation was dramatic and I'm even more so now".
    Candreva was also upbeat.
    "After the Macedonia match, we were looking to come back, we spoke about it and stuck together as we also have the playoffs coming up," the Inter winger said. "We produced a positive effort, winning is never simple.
    "It's important for all of us to go to the World Cup, it will take sacrifice, humility and the Italian spirit which distinguishes us."