Italy to face Sweden in World Cup playoff

Duffy has played down the injury he picked up against Everton

Duffy has played down the injury he picked up against Everton

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND will face Denmark in their World Cup 2018 qualifying play-off tie.

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

"I've been speaking to a lot of players and ex-players and I think they'll be happy with Denmark", former Ireland striker Clinton Morrison told Sky Sports News.

Four-times world champions Italy were given a tough draw against Sweden in their two-legged playoff for a place at next year's football World Cup. 1986 was the last time they went to a World Cup, and they are now closer than ever before to ending that barren run.

"Possibly you'd have preferred it the other way around, but you don't get everything".

Four nations will emerge from the ties to join France, Portugal, Germany, Serbia, Poland, England, Spain, Belgium, Iceland and hosts Russia as the 14 European representatives at the tournament.

The first leg at home, hopefully we can have a positive result to take to Switzerland.

"I know Denamrk and I know the manager Åge Hareide".

The Boys in Green are unseeded, however, so they will be the underdogs no matter which of Switzerland, Italy, Croatia or Denmark they end up against.

"If you consider the Danish run just recently, he has masterminded nearly all their proceedings", Martin O'Neill said.

"There's momentum, momentum is naturally very important". Switzerland will be formidable opponents, but I... "Now we can start work".

O'Neill has been linked with the vacant Scotland job following Gordon Strachan's departure, but the Northern Ireland boss insists his attention is solely on getting to Russia.

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