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Italy may be riding high as champions of Europe but now face a fight to ensure they do not miss a second consecutive World Cup.
The Azzurri, who bounced back from missing out on Russia 2018 by winning Euro 2020 and cruising through a record unbeaten run under Roberto Mancini, have work to do in order to top their group.
With two games to play and only top spot guaranteeing a place at next year’s tournament in Qatar, Italy are level on points with Switzerland, who they face in Rome tonight in what could prove a shootout for first place in Group C.
Only two sides, Denmark and Germany, have secured their progress so far. Denmark will finish top of Group F, although Scotland are hopeful of sealing their place in a play-off to qualify for a first World Cup since 1998.
Victory over Moldova tonight would be their fifth straight win in qualifying and ensure they could not be caught. Steve Clarke will have to hope they can do just that without both Lyndon Dykes and Ryan Christie, who are suspended, while Grant Hanley, Ryan Fraser and Scott McTominay have all withdrawn through injury and illness.
“When you get close to an end of a campaign there’s no room for error,” said Scotland captain Andy Robertson.
Holders France can seal their place with victory over Kazakhstan tomorrow, while Belgium will make sure they finish top in Group E with victory over Estonia.
Wales are assured of a play-off spot through the Nations League after Spain beat Greece last night, with La Roja needing just a point against Sweden to qualify.
Norway trail the Netherlands by two points and the two face each other in the final Group G game. Victory over Latvia for Norway tomorrow would set up quite the finale.