Threatened to stay out of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, four-time World Cup winners Italy are betting their last chips in an upset this Monday, November 13. It will make against Sweden the second match of the recapture of the European qualifiers. Starting at 17:45 (Brasília time), the game takes place at the Giuseppe Meazza / San Siro stadium in Milan.
In the first game, played on Friday, November 10, in Stockholm, the Swedes asserted the field and won by 1-0. In that way, they will secure a place in the Russian tournament if they win or draw on Italian soil. Even the defeat can serve, provided by minimal difference and that make two goals. For Italians only success for two tries of difference is enough. If they win by 1 to 0 they will cause an extension and, if necessary, a penalties decision.
Italy’s recent performance
It is expected that the technician Gian Piero Ventura make changes both tactics and names in an attempt to seek the reaction. The main one would be to put one more attacker and a man out of the midfield. In that case, Insigne, who started the first game on the bench and entered the second half, would gain the chance to form an offensive trio with Belotti and Immobile. Even the naturalized Brazilian Eder may have a chance. It all depends on the degree of risk that the coach intends to take.
The desperate situation in Italy can not be classified as surprising. Azzurra has undergone a severe change in its tactical scheme in recent years. For the 2014 World Cup, played in Brazil, he had the services of coach Antonio Conte, currently at Chelsea. With it, he switched to the style based on the ‘double’ boom / counterattack by a more offensive football in which possession of the ball was prioritized.
The elimination in the first phase of the World Cup on Brazilian soil undermined the deepening of this strategy, which had its end point with the fall in the stages of the Euro 2016 kills. With the hiring of Ventura, the Italians took a step back using the system traditionally used by the local soccer, although at the moment it is no longer a resource used by the main clubs of the country. Napoli, Juventus, Rome and Lazio, for example, opt for the line that was followed by Conte.
This certainly caused extra complications, but the biggest obstacle to Italy’s classification was even the draw, which put the team in the same group as Spain. In the battle of giants, the Spanish touch had prevailed and the Italians, with 23 points (seven wins, two draws and one defeat), five less than the rival, had to be content with the second place of group G of the European qualifiers .
To face the Swedes, the coach has at his disposal: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan), Mattia Perin (Genoa); Leonardo DiCaprio (Fiorentina), Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Leonardo Bonucci (AC Milan), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Danilo D’Ambrosio (Inter), Matteo Darmian (Manchester United), Daniele Rugani ), Davide Zappacosta (Chelsea); Fernando Bernadeschi (Juventus), Antonio Candreva (Inter), Daniele de Rossi (Roma), Stephan El Shaarawy (Roma), Alessandro Florenzi (Roma), Roberto Gagliardini (Inter), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Jorginho Parolo (Lazio), Marco Verratti (Paris Saint-Germain); Andrea Belotti (Torino), Eder (Inter), Manolo Gabbiadini (Southampton), Ciro Immobile (Lazio) and Simone Zaza (Valencia).
The current form of Sweden
The same can not be said of the Swedes. The survival of the selection for the fight for a place in the recapture can be considered a surprise. Although the country has a great tradition in participating in the world cup with 11 disputations, which includes the 1958 runners-up when, at home, lost the final to Brazil Pelé and Garrincha, the expectation before the ball rolls in the qualifiers was fairly low for three reasons.
The first of these was the weak campaign in Euro 2016. Before starting their campaign in the qualifiers of the Old Continent, the Swedes were still beaten in the first phase of the competition that had France as the seat of their decisive stage.
The second reason was also generated by this bad campaign. Disappointed by the poor results, the all-time Swedish player of all time, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, has decided to retire from the national team.
In addition, the negative prognoses were completed by the draw that put Sweden in a key that had as wide favorites France and Holland. The French confirmed what was expected and were left with the direct spot in the Russian Cup by reaching 23 points (seven wins, two draws and a loss).
The Sweden team managed to fight for the top spot in most of the ten rounds but lost their breath at the end. With 19 points (six wins, one draw and three defeats), he ended up guaranteeing the right to play in the play-off thanks to the better goal scoring than the Dutch, who reached the same score. An 8-0 win against Luxembourg on Matchday 9 was the decisive factor for that feat.
For the second game against Italy in the recapture, the Swedes will gain another option. Defender Mikael Lustig of Celtic (Scotland), who can not play in the match in Stockholm due to suspension for the accumulation of yellow cards, is released.
The selection has the following athletes available:
Goalkeepers: Johnsson, Nordfeldt, Olsen
Defenders: Augustinsson, Granqvist, Helander, Jansson, Krafht, Larsson, Lustig, Lindelof, Olsson
Socks: Claesson, Durmat, Ekdal, Forsberg, Johansson, Larsson, Rohden, Sema, Svensson
Attackers: Berg, Guidetti, Toivonen, Thelin
History of the matches Italy vs Sweden
The Italian side won 10 of their 22 matches against the Swedes before qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The first official meeting between the teams was in Brazil at the 1950 World Cup. Sweden won by 3 to 2. They met again at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico. This time, Italy took the best doing 1 to 0. It would reach the final of the tournament when it lost the title to the Brazilian team.
In the 1972 Euro, the selections were in the same group of the eliminatory ones. There was a goalless draw in Sweden and Italian victory, at home, by 3 to 0. Again in the dispute of vacancies of the continental tournament their paths were crossed. For the Euro 1984 qualifiers, the Swedes won twice. They made it 2-0 at home and 3-0 in the opponent’s stadium.
The duel was repeated in the qualifiers for the Euro 1988. In that opportunity who at home won. The Swedes by 1 to 0 and the Italians by 2 to 1. Also in the Euro, but not in the qualifiers but in the final phase, the teams have had three more meetings since then. In 2000, Italy won by 2-1. In 2004, there was a 1-1 draw. The most recent match was for Euro 2016. In France, the Italians scored 1-0.
Coach Gian Piero Ventura opted for a tactical line-up that offered the chance to be offensive in the first game. However, when the ball rolled, it was conservative. Italy preferred to use the large possession domain (64% to 36%) defensively. He was more concerned with spending time than looking for a goal.
Still, he tried more often to finish (10 to 8). However, it was less effective in that respect than the Swedes (two kicks on target against three of the rivals). All this will certainly be different in the second game. The Italians will certainly seek to master the ball, but they will have to be more objective so they can reverse the disadvantage. Swedes should keep their standard of trying to exploit the counterattacks at full speed.
Thus, the guess of the owners of the house, although this is not enough to guarantee the classification, seems to be the most appropriate. It has a price of 1.53 in Bet365. Draw shows return of 4.20 and successful visitor yields 7.50.