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 By Ben Gladwell

Toronto's Sebastian Giovinco still hoping for Italy World Cup call-up

Sebastian Giovinco
Sebastian Giovinco has not played for Italy since Gian Piero Ventura was appointed.

Toronto forward Sebastian Giovinco says he has not yet given up hope of earning a recall to the Italy squad and has defended the competitiveness of Major League Soccer.

Giovinco has not been considered for selection by Gian Piero Ventura since he took over from Antonio Conte as Italy coach back in 2016. Conte had also stopped calling up the former Juventus forward, claiming that he was not being tested enough in North America.

Giovinco, who has scored 15 goals in 24 MLS appearances this season,...

 By Ben Gladwell

Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri: Now is too early to become Italy coach

Massimiliano Allegri has been in charge of Juventus since 2014.

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri says he could consider coaching Italy one day, although he insists his immediate future is with the Bianconeri.

Allegri has been mentioned as a potential successor to Gian Piero Ventura, who has come under fire with Italy struggling in the final stages of World Cup qualifying and facing a playoff to reach Russia.

There have also been reports that Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, who coached Italy from 2014 to 2016, could return, even as early as for next summer's...

ESPN FC  By Dale Johnson

World Cup qualifying playoffs in Europe: All you need to know

With the playoff teams set in Europe, the FC crew assess which unseeded side has the best chance of reaching the World Cup.

The final four places at the World Cup finals from Europe will be decided via four playoffs.

Who has qualified for the playoffs?

Eight nations are into the playoffs, ranked based on the October 2017 FIFA Ranking.

Seeded: Switzerland, Italy, Croatia, Denmark
Unseeded: Northern Ireland, Sweden, Republic of Ireland, Greece

Who can play each other?

Switzerland, Italy, Croatia and Denmark will be the top-ranked teams, and thus seeded. They were also the four runners-up who had the best record in group...

 By Ben Gladwell

Gian Piero Ventura: Italy have taken a step forward ahead of playoffs

Gian Piero Ventura said his players are 'realising we can achieve a lot.'

Italy coach Gian Piero Ventura said his side had bounced back from last month's heavy defeat to Spain after they sealed a place in the World Cup qualification playoffs.

A 1-0 win in Albania on Monday secured their position as one of the four seeded teams, and Ventura said it was a "step forward" for a team whose chance of qualifying directly had vanished with the Spain defeat.

The coach told RAI television: "This was the objectives we had set.

"I think we have taken another small step forward. In...