Costly defeat for Azzurri in Geneva friendly
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Costly defeat for Azzurri in Geneva friendly

Italy will not be seeded for the upcoming World Cup qualifying draw after a 1-0 friendly defeat to Portugal in Geneva yesterday denied them the requisite coefficient points.

Eder’s second-half goal was enough to send the Azzurri to their first loss under Antonio Conte, given substitute Franco Vazquez was denied the latest of levellers by Portugal goalkeeper Beto.

Croatia, who held Italy to a 1-1 draw in their Euro 2016 qualifying meeting last week, will now be among the top seeds when groups for reaching Russia 2018 are drawn in St Petersburg on July 25.

The first half was poor but a sign of promise followed the resumption as Leonardo Bonucci got his head to an Andre Pirlo free-kick and clattered the frame of the goal.

It was a false dawn for the Italians, though, as their opponents broke the deadlock in the 52nd minute.

Eliseu beat two men in the midfield before setting up Quaresma for an outside-of-the-boot cross to Eder that the Braga striker turned in for his first international goal.

Italy were sluggish and the only real talking points were the introductions of Argentina-born Vaz-quez and Nicola Sansone.

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