Italy will face Spain, Albania, Israel, Macedonia and Liechtenstein on the road to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The Azzurri were hoping to avoid Spain, but also challenge Gianni De Biasi’s surprising Albania.
Italy have not won any of their last four competitive meetings with Spain.
The draw for the qualifying round was held today in St Petersburg, involving 141 nations.
Russia have already qualified as hosts, but World Cup holders Germany must go through the process and get a tough group with the Czech Republic, Northern Ireland, Norway, Azerbaijan and San Marino.
The Azzurri were not top seeds among the 52 European sides due to the latest FIFA rankings, which placed them in 17th place.
The seeds were Germany, Belgium, Holland, Portugal, Romania, England, Wales, Spain and Croatia.
Winners of each group will qualify for the World Cup, while the eight best runners-up go into a play-off in November 2017.
Republic of Ireland
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