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Italy face Sweden in World Cup playoff

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Italy face Sweden in World Cup playoff
Italy got Sweden in the World Cup European play-off draw. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
15:09 CEST+02:00
The Azzurri will have to beat Sweden for a place in the 2018 World Cup.

Four-time winners Italy will play Sweden in a playoff for a place in the 2018 World Cup while the Republic of Ireland take on Denmark, following Tuesday's draw.

Northern Ireland will take on Switzerland and Croatia will tackle Greece in the other two-legged Europe zone playoffs to be played between November 9th and November 14th.

Italy, who were seeded for the draw in Zurich, will travel to Sweden for the first leg of their tie.

Gabriele Oriali, the Italy team manager who attended the draw in place of coach Gian Piero Ventura, said: "I think it could have been better. But we accept this draw. We are Italy and we shouldn't be afraid of anyone.

"Sweden are a very strong team, who qualified in a difficult group. They beat France and eliminated the Netherlands.

"We have optimism and history [on our side]. Imagine a World Cup without Italy."

The Italians were condemned to the playoffs after finishing runners-up to Spain in their qualifying group, but they have not missed a World Cup finals since 1958.

Sweden coach Janne Andersson told Sky Sports News: "It's two tough games but it would have been the same with other countries.

"I'm happy we know now. Now we can start work."

Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

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