Wednesday, 22 November, 2017

Italy face crunch Sweden game as World Cup disaster beckons

Reuters Reuters
Damon Campbell | 14 November, 2017, 00:42

Four-time world champions Italy will not be at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russian Federation following their 0-0 home draw against Sweden in the second leg of their European play-off qualifier on Monday. Italy has participated in every World Cup since failing to qualify for the 1958 tournament.

Gian Piero Ventura will surely need to make some modifications to his lineup after such a poor performance in Stockholm.

Sweden survived wave after wave of Italian attacks at the San Siro.

But despite laying siege to the Scandinavian defence over 90 feverish minutes, Italy could not make the breakthrough and the goalless draw was enough for Sweden to reach Russian Federation 2018.

Jorginho created Italy's best opportunities with two throughballs for Ciro Immobile, who hit the netting from a tight angle from one.

Italy is a team that can not afford to miss out on the next World Cup while Sweden is trying to prosper after Zlatan Ibrahimovic's retirement from the national team. Prior to that, they had only missed the first edition of the event in 1930 in Uruguay, which they did not enter. By this stage, their World Cup hopes were hanging by a thread.

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To avoid maintaining their remarkable sequence of World Cup appearances, they face the game against Sweden amid an atmosphere of what 'keeper Buffon has described as "high tension".

But the Azzurri struggled to carve out clear chances against a solid Sweden side, and really tested goalkeeper Robin Olsen only once. "We invite them to support us, but realize the time has come for us to show them what we've got".

"I've already faced similar situations in my career, sometimes I've succeeded, some other times I've failed". I don't want to think it's the game of life but I'm convinced that, with the help of the fans, we will do it. But even in its most basic form, it would surely be better than the status quo, which sees officials castigated for honest mistakes and teams denied a place at the World Cup as a outcome.

The Swedes prevailed 1-0 on aggregate after they won the first leg on Friday.

What TV channel is Italy vs Sweden on?

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