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Italy Has Hard Qualifying Path After Missing Last World Cup

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Northern Ireland to face Italy Switzerland Bulgaria Lithuania in qualifying group

"My immediate thoughts are that it is quite a hard group, but one that we will look to get off to a good start in and hopefully build on that", Davis said.

"Luxembourg, checking their results, they are a vastly improved team, got 10 points in the Nations League and Azerbaijan are a bit of an unknown quantity, we will have to prepare accordingly".

For the first time ever the World Cup will be played in November and December of 2022 to avoid the intense summer heat in the Middle East.

The 2022 World Cup is scheduled to begin November 22, 2022.

Speaking to the official website of the Football Federation of ARmenia, Mkhitaryan said the group is "not bad for us".

2 June 2001; Ireland's Roy Keane shoots to score his side's first goal past Portugal's Arnando Teixeira. Spain's refusal to respect the flag and anthem of Kosovo past year forced UEFA to move qualifying games in soccer's Under-17 European Championship.

Meanwhile, the Portuguese need no introduction, counting Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes among a host of stars.

France also won the World Cup back in 1998 on home soil, defeating Brazil 3-0.

As for England, it is the seventh time they have been drawn with Poland in World Cup qualifying.

Dark horses Luxembourg were unlucky not to win promotion to Ireland's Nations League B with a red card in their last match against Cyprus scuppering their chances while Azerbaijan which will involve a tough away trip.

The additional games will provide the Gulf nation with an opportunity to test themselves ahead of the showpiece event.

The group will see Northern Ireland renew hostilities with the Swiss who controversially beat them in a play-off for the 2018 tournament.

"I think it will be a fight between us and Switzerland", Italy coach Roberto Mancini said. Serbia, on paper, are very strong and they haven't qualified for the Euros. We have to do our utmost to try to qualify.

Kenny is hopeful that the spread of fixtures this time out means that he will have a bit more time to work with his players in preparation for the campaign.

The 2018 semi-finalists, Belgium and England, were drawn in Groups E and I, respectively during a draw streamed live on FIFA.com and FIFA on YouTube.

The Qataris are also set to play in both regional tournaments covering the Americas next year. Those two will be the two highest-ranked Nations League group winners who did finish in the top two of their World Cup qualifying group.

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