FOUR-TIME world champions Italy were drawn against Sweden on Tuesday in their two-legged playoff for a place at next year’s World Cup.
Italy, who last failed to qualify for the World Cup in 1958, will play the second leg at home in the most eye-catching of the four ties.
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.”
The Italians were condemned to the playoffs after finishing runners-up to Spain in their qualifying group.
Switzerland, who finished second in their qualifying group despite winning nine of their 10 games, were drawn against Northern Ireland, who last qualified in 1986, with the first match in Belfast.
Northern Ireland coach Michael O’Neill admitted he faced a tough task against the Swiss.
“Switzerland had a great campaign though their group was one of the easiest. Our job is to make their life as difficult as possible,” he said at the draw in Zurich.
“Having played Germany twice in the group it will set us up nicely for the match.
“Our aim is to take a lead to Switzerland and we had seven clean sheets in our qualifiers, so we need a tight five when we go there.”
Croatia, runners-up behind Iceland in their group, will face Greece with the first leg at home.
The fourth tie pits Ireland against Denmark, who host the first match.
The two-legged ties to be played Nov. 9-11 and Nov. 12-14.
Originally published as Italy draws Sweden to headline Euro playoffs