By Mario Tama/Getty ImagesItaly’s national team is in danger of missing out on qualifying for the 2019 World Cup if it does not win a major tournament.
The team has lost a series of key players and its star striker Lorenzo Insigne has not featured in a competitive game since November, as Italy struggled to find form.
The national team has played its last competitive game in June against Switzerland.
Insigne has also been unable to score goals, but the 25-year-old was the hero in the 6-1 thrashing of Italy by Denmark in the last World Cup qualifier.
Italy has yet to score a goal in four matches, the last coming in a 1-0 win over Austria in the group stages.
The last time Italy played a competitive match was at the 2014 World Cup in Russia, and the last time it did so in a qualifying tournament was in the 2008 European Championship.
The Italians have lost five matches in a row to top-ranked teams, including a 1 -0 loss to Germany in the quarter-finals.
Italy will play host to Russia on Saturday, and Italy will face Denmark, Austria and Switzerland at home before playing a qualifying game against Russia at Wembley.
The most recent time Italy went through to the knockout stages of a major European tournament was the 2011 World Cup, when it defeated Belgium 2 – 1.
Italy had won its first seven games of qualifying before falling to Portugal in the round of 16.