Italy to face Sweden in World Cup playoffs

Cheryl Sanders
October 17, 2017

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland were forced into the playoffs after they suffered a 1-0 defeat to Norway and will now have to overcome Switzerland if they are to end their 31-year wait for a World Cup finals spot.

Based on the latest Federation Internationale de Football Association rankings, Switzerland (11), Italy (15), Croatia (18) and Denmark (19) were the seeded teams, and were drawn against the unseeded sides, namely Northern Ireland (23), Sweden (25), Republic of Ireland (26) and Greece (47).

The European World Cup play-off draw takes place at 1pm from FIFA's headquarters in Zurich.

Both games saw home draws and 1-0 away wins with Ireland edging both sides overall as they finished behind group winners Serbia. While there's an argument the Croatia of Modric, Rakitic and Mandzukic would cause us the most problems, the team we most want to avoid is Italy.

Both nations avoided four-time winners Italy and will be hopeful of booking their place in Russian Federation next summer.

Michael O'Neill took them to the second round at Euro 2016 and they are 23rd in the latest Federation Internationale de Football Association rankings.

The Boys in Green travelled to Cardiff on Monday 9 October knowing only a victory in the Welsh capital would see them qualify for the play-off stages.

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