Good morning football fans
Italy coach Roberto Mancini is not happy his side are in the play-offs.
Nonetheless, Mancini is confident the squad he has assembled is capable of getting past North Macedonia.
He said on Monday: “We shouldn’t have been here.
“I have talented players who built a win out of nothing that nobody believed in.
“That’s no guarantee for the World Cup, but a solid basis.”
But Giorgio Chiellini has warned his Italian team-mates not to underestimate North Macedonia.
He said: “We need humility because North Macedonia is not here by accident, there are players that we know and know from their club football.
Elsewhere, Gareth Bale has revealed that Wales’ crucial World Cup play-off tie against Austria is one of the biggest games of his career.
The Real Madrid ace said: “It’s going to be one of the greatest games I’ve ever played in for sure.
“Qualifying for a World Cup is something I want to achieve for the fans and for the country. It’s definitely a massive game, we all want to do well.”
Bale was doubtful for tonight’s game but has stated that after a few ‘nods’ he’s ready to go.
Bale announced: “It’s normal to have a few little things.
“I have been training for the last two and a half months.
“I’m in much better shape than I was at the last camp, which I was out for about three months. I’m ready to play whatever it takes tomorrow.”
And that’s bad news for Bale’s Real Madrid team-mates and Austria star David Alba, who fear Bale could single-handedly ruin his country’s chances.
Alba said: “Gareth can decide games himself and he’s not always easy to stop, but we want to focus on ourselves and our own game.”
However, Spanish media have criticized Bale for being ready to face Austria but not fit for Real Madrid’s game against Barcelona last weekend.
The Madrid star came under fire in Spain when his return was dubbed ‘The Wonder of Wales’.
Another newspaper had the headline “It doesn’t hurt anymore”.
Finally, Portugal coach Fernando Santos is confident that Portugal will come out on top in the game against Turkey.
Santos said: “What has always happened for the Portugal national team is a positive push.
“We won the two finals we took part in. We always reacted positively in the decisive qualifiers, with the exception of the last one (against Serbia).
“These players have a lot of experience and cannot be influenced.”
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