World Cup playoff draw: Italy or Sweden to miss out on Russia 2018

    Story highlights

    • Italy draw Sweden in World Cup playoff
    • Ties to be played between 9-14 November

    (CNN)Four-time world champion Italy faces a tough two-legged playoff against Sweden as the Azzurri look to qualify for a 15th consecutive World Cup.

    It was arguably the trickiest tie possible for the Italians, drawing Sweden from a pot that included Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and Greece.
      Sweden, on the other hand, haven't qualified for the World Cup since 2006 and are looking to add to their tally of 11 appearances at football's most prestigious tournament.
      The two sides last met at Euro 2016, with Italy running out narrow 1-0 winners to top their group and send a Sweden team featuring Zlatan Ibrahimovic home early. Ibrahimovic quit international football after Euro 2016.

      Swiss test

      The Republic of Ireland -- who last week beat Euro 2016 semifinalists Wales to secure a spot in these playoffs -- will play Denmark. Croatia, lead by Real Madrid star Luka Modric, will breath easy after drawing 47th-ranked Greece.
      Switzerland, the highest rank team in these playoffs, can count themselves unlucky not to have qualified for the World Cup automatically.
      With a perfect record heading into the final match in Group B, only a 2-0 defeat to Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal saw them drop to second and send the Portuguese directly to Russia.
      It will come as some consolation, then, to the team ranked 11th in the world that they will face Northern Ireland for a place at Russia 2018.
      The two-legged ties will take place between 9 -14 November.
      Thirty two nations will contest the 2018 World Cup, with the draw for the tournament to take place inside the concert hall at Moscow's State Kremlin Palace on December 1.
      The 2018 World Cup's first game will feature hosts Russia on June 14 in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium.