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Albania condemn 'extremist acts' by fans during match with Italy

Gian Piero Ventura says it's a shame that the presence of flares in the stadium will overshadow Italy's match with Albania.

TIRANA, Albania -- Albania's football federation has strongly denounced the incident that halted the World Cup Group G qualifier with Italy for nearly nine minutes on Saturday.

During the match, which was won by Italy 2-0, a group calling itself Illyrian Elite threw flares onto the pitch which created a cloud of smoke.

"Such totally extremist actions from the grouping Illyrian Elite have nothing to do with the excellent Albanian fans" who were distinguished in the Euro 2016 finals in France for...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Italy's Ventura: Everything in place for Azzurri to have strong future

Gab Marcotti reflects on Gianluigi Buffon's career and what comes next after reaching 1,000 career matches.
Italy beat Albania 2-0 in World Cup qualifying as goalkeeper GIanluigi Buffon made his 1,000th professional appearance.

Italy boss Giampiero Ventura believes his side have a bright future ahead after their 2-0 victory over Albania in World Cup qualifying on Friday.

Goals from Daniele De Rossi and Ciro Immobile in goalkeeper Gianluigi's Buffon's 1,000th career match helped the Azzurri easily overcome the Albanians.

And Ventura was pleased with the effort on the day, telling Rai Sport: "At the start there was some desire to do a bit too much and not the right fluidity. Aside from that chance after 30...

 By Ben Gladwell

Gianni De Biasi's Albania exit be 'as controversial' as Claudio Ranieri axe

Gianni De Biasi was a contender to replace Antonio Conte as Italy coach in 2016.

Gianni De Biasi says that if he were to lose his job as Albania coach, it would compare with Claudio Ranieri's dismissal as Leicester City manager.

De Biasi took charge of Albania in December 2011 and led them to their first ever European Championship finals last year. They did not make it beyond the group stage and they have already lost at home to Spain and Israel in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

But the 60-year-old believes that if the Albanian FA were to show him the door, it would be the...

Italy knights Albania coach Gianni de Biasi

Gianni de Biasi has been honoured for his contribution to Albania.

TIRANA, Albania -- Italy has awarded Gianni de Biasi, an Italian who coaches the Albanian national team, with the Medal of the Star, graded as a Knight, for promoting the country in the sport.

An embassy statement Wednesday said Italian Ambassador Alberto Cutillo awarded the medal to De Biasi the previous evening "for his contribution to further strengthen the bonds of friendship between the two countries and to promote Albania's image abroad," adding that "before politics De Biasi managed to bring...