Italy coach Cesare Prandelli insists their Euro2016 draw is tougher than what appears.
The Azzurri have been paired with Croatia, Bulgaria, Norway, Azerbaijan and Malta in Group H of qualifying for the tournament finals to be held in France.
"It's true that we avoided Belgium and Switzerland, but I don't think that Croatia are inferior to those two teams that everybody wanted to avoid in Pot 2," said Prandelli.
"This is not as easy a group as many could think. It is a challenging round. Croatia and Bulgaria are potential winners of the group.
"We have played Malta recently and know the difficulties that lie ahead - Norway are a good team and Azerbaijan is going through a period of growth.
"I do not want to cause controversy, that is not my way, but Russia, Italy and Portugal, as seeded in the final three groups, have been penalised by the system of the draw."