Italy have embraced the challenge of playing Spain in World Cup qualifying after the draw in St Petersburg on Saturday.
Italy, the 2006 world champion, paid the price for recent poor results by being drawn once again in qualifying with 2010 victor Spain in Saturday’s ceremony at Konstantin Palace.
“The World Cup was a slight misadventure, the same as for us”, Conte said.
After serving as one of the Draw Assistants at the Preliminary Draw for the 2018 Federation Internationale de Football Association World Cup Russia™, he discussed how the European countries would be approaching the road to the global showpiece.
The Spaniards will also face Albania, Israel, Macedonia and Liechtenstein in Group G. Each of the group winners will qualify for the tournament automatically, with the eight best second place teams contesting a further two legged playoff to determine the final four qualifiers.
Group A will see Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and his Sweden side take on France, with Netherlands also in the mix.
World Cup champions, Germany, have been placed in Group C alongside Czech Republic, Northern Ireland, Norway, Azerbaijan, San Marino.
The then-holders were dumped from the 2014 World Cup in the group stages, while they have lost two of their past five matches.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal will be alongside Portugal, Switzerland, Hungary, Faroe Islands, Latvia, Andorra in Group B.
“This is possibly the toughest draw Israeli soccer has received since joining UEFA over 20 years ago”, said national team coach Eli Gutman.
Adding to the intrigue for the neighbors could be the lingering effects of Scotland’s 2014 independence referendum, when the majority voted to stay part of Britain.
England, whose only World Cup win came in 1966, were paired with their oldest rivals Scotland in Group F, along with Slovakia, Slovenia, Lithuania and Malta.