The Italians would be seeded in the draw for the World Cup play-offs with a hard-fought 1-0 win in Albania on Monday.
Antonio Candreva converted Leonardo Spinazzola’s cross in the 73rd minute to score the only goal of the game and ease some of the pressure on under-fire coach Gian Piero Ventura.
After friday’s dismal 1-1 result at home against Macedonia, this was a morale-boosting triumph before they played in a two-legged play-off in November. Italy are certain to finish 2nd behind Spain in Group G.
The Azzurris won the world cup in 2006 courtesy penalty but have failed to replicate such performances since then but hopes to turn out impressive showing in Russia next year.