Ventura thinking ahead to World Cup

Ventura, Italia

Italy manager Gian Piero Ventura is already thinking about the World Cup group stages, despite a two-legged play-off with Sweden standing between his side and Russia 2018.

The Azzurri must head to Stockholm for the first leg on November 10th before the return leg at San Siro in Milan on the 13th, but Venture is already thinking as if they are qualified.

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

"I believe there is a possibility to do something much more important that we can think of at 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."

The draw for the group stages will be held on the 1st of December in Moscow.