Former football player for Spain, Fernando Hierro, shows the name of Sweden during the FIFA football World Cup 2018 European play-off draw, on October 17, 2017 in Zurich.
Former football player for Spain, Fernando Hierro, shows the name of Sweden during the FIFA football World Cup 2018 European play-off draw, on October 17, 2017 in Zurich. Credit: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

Arrivederci? - Sweden to go against Italy in World Cup play-off

3:00 min

Sweden are underdogs to qualify for the World Cup in Russia, after being paired with four times winners Italy in Tuesday afternoon's play-off draw.

It will be two tough matches," says Sweden's coach Janne Andersson.

After finishing second to France in their World Cup qualifying group, Sweden would have been hoping for either Switzerland or Denmark from the four possible seeded opponents in the draw for next month's two-legged play-offs.

It's almost 20 years since Sweden last beat Italy; Kennet Andersson's goal in the 90th minute clinching a 1-nil win in a friendly in Gothenburg.

Sweden will play at home in Stockholm, in early November before the return leg in Italy.

We'll see afterwards if that its good or bad," Janne Andersson says about whether it was an advantage to play first at home.  

Italy have not failed to reach a World Cup tournament since 1962, but are perhaps no longer the force they once were. They finished second to Spain in their qualifying group.

Sweden and Italy last met at the Euro 2016 finals in France where a late goal by Eder saw the Italians qualify for the knock-out stages. 

The play-off games will take place on a home and away basis, with the first leg on 10 November and the second leg on 13 November.

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