Italy must defeat Olympic champions the United States over two legs if they are to feature at the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany.
The Azzurre, having lost their initial two-legged qualifier to France, defeated Ukraine and Switzerland to earn a place in the UEFA-CONCACAF play-off. There they meet the team who came third in the North and Central American qualifying competition in Mexico, and who set up encounters in Padova on 20 November and at Bridgeview seven days later thanks to a 3-0 defeat of Costa Rica. The US won the World Cup in 1991 and 1999.
Mexico surprisingly defeated Pia Sundhage's US 2-1 in the semi-finals of the CONCACAF competition to reach their first World Cup since 1999, while Canada took the other automatic place by beating Costa Rica 4-0. Previously through along with holders Germany were European play-off winners England, France, Norway and Sweden plus Australia, Japan, Korea DPR and New Zealand.
Two further places will be decided on Thursday in the semi-finals of the African Women's Championship, where Nigeria play Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea face South Africa. The other two berths will be filled from South America later this month.
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