Gianluigi Buffon backing Italy to overcome Spain in crunch qualifier

Gianluigi Buffon believes Italy can "achieve something great" when they take on Spain in World Cup qualifying in September.

Buffon, 39, was speaking after making his 1,000th career appearance as Italy defeated Albania 2-0 on Friday.

That victory keeps them level on points at the top of Group G with Spain, though La Roja are ahead on goal difference.

The two sides meet in a crunch clash in Madrid in September, having played out a 1-1 draw in Turin in October, and Buffon is confident ahead of the match, having also been part of the Italy side that knocked out La Roja at Euro 2016. As Spain have a vastly superior goal difference, Italy will almost certainly have to win to avoid the playoffs.

"With Spain, we know we are not favourites but all teams are beatable," he told TMW Radio.

"If we play with belief, the way we did after conceding a goal against Spain in Turin and the way we did in the Euros then we can give them headaches.

"In these games, an incident can go for or against you. The important thing is to believe we can achieve something great."

Play was suspended for nine minutes during the victory over Albania in Palermo after some of the away fans threw fireworks onto the pitch.

"It was a real shame," Buffon said. "There were moments of sporting unity and fair play throughout but, as often happens, there was a small group of people who don't like fair play and find the worst way to draw attention to themselves."