19:45 GMT 10 November 2017
With the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia just around the corner, we still don’t know for sure all of the sides that will compete in the tournament. However, in a week’s time, it will be crystal clear as the playoffs take place over the next seven days and the final nations will secure their places for the next World Cup. Two of the sides who meet in the playoffs are Italy and Sweden and the first-leg will be played in Stockholm before the second-leg at the Stadio Olimpico on Monday.
In terms of recent meetings between Italy and Sweden, it doesn’t make good reading for the hosts, you have to go back to 1998 to the last time Sweden got a win over Italy. They haven’t won in the last five matches with the Italians and with four wins in those fixtures, Italy will be very confident. The last match-up came at the 2016 European Championships and it was Antonio Conte’s Italy side who advanced through to the last 16 with a 1-0 win.
Sweden must avoid defeat in the home leg if they want any chance of progression to the World Cup group stages and with a relatively strong side, they may well do that. Emil Forsberg and Marcus Berg will be the main danger men and Italy must keep them both quiet to have the best chance of winning the match.
Latest matches: Sweden
Despite finding themselves in a World Cup play-off, Italy are undoubtedly one of the world’s strongest squads and their attacking options are incredible. Andrea Belotti, Ciro Immobile and Simone Zaza are all at the top of their games in Europe’s major leagues and each of them could start.
Latest matches: Italy
Italy haven’t missed a World Cup for 60 years and surely they won’t be missing next year’s competition in Russia as they look big favourites to qualify. They are expected to make the group stages but Sweden will put up a good fight on their own turf in the first-leg and the match could easily go either way. Italy’s defensive line should be far too strong for Sweden’s attack and a clean sheet for the visitors would put them in a very good position.
10 November 2017 - 19:45 GMT
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