Italian players train ahead of Friday's World Cup play-off soccer match against Sweden, at the Coverciano training center, near Florence, Italy, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. (Maurizio Degl'Innocenti/ANSA via AP)
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For football giants Italy the next few days could be a nightmare as they face a double-headed playoff against Sweden to avoid the humiliation of missing the World Cup for the first time in 60 years.The last time Italy missed the World Cup was the 1958 edition which was hosted in Sweden.The playoff puts Italy's proud record of World Cup participation in danger.Italy are also the only one of the eight previous winners not yet sure of their place in this World Cup.The four-time winners have missed just two World Cup finals -- the first in 1930 when they chose not to compete and in 1958 when they did not qualify.Italy were held 1-1 but qualified in the return leg.
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