Ventura not doubting Italy's World Cup hopes: 'We're all convinced that we will make it'

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The manager is not overlooking the play-off with Sweden but has said he can't imagine a scenario in which the Italians fail to qualify for Russia

Italy may have a World Cup play-off with Sweden to get through, but head coach Gian Piero Ventura is not considering the possibility that they'll fail to qualify for Russia 2018.

The Azzurri were beaten to top spot in Group G of UEFA qualifying by Spain and face a two-legged clash with Janne Andersson's side to advance to next year's finals, with the first match taking place in Stockholm on Friday.

Italy 13/10 to win in Sweden

"Because of my mindset, I never considered the possibility of missing the World Cup. We're all convinced that we will make it," said the 69-year-old.

"I believe there is a possibility to do something much more important that we can think of in this moment. Now it is time to channel our energies.

"I am not thinking about whether we will play in the World Cup or not. I am already thinking about the group stage as well as the friendlies we have to play, against England and perhaps Argentina if I am not wrong.

"I think about Russia, of course, but first of all I am focused on Sweden, which is a mandatory step."

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