Italy vs Sweden by Rahul

Italy come into this encounter after giving a young Belgium side a proper lesson in how to play team football. The Italians have a team that is not built up of many great players, but showcased that if they play together they can beat any opposition. The Italians continued to rely on their Juventus back 4 of Bonucci, Barzagli, Chellini and Buffon who continued to deliver on the strong clean sheets, which is now their 3rd in succession at international level and 4 out of their last 5 games at club level. The defence has even extra cover at the back with De Rossi adding that foil from midfield. The offensive firepower from the midfield including Giacherrini, Eder, Candreva and Parolo will need to give enough support to Pelle & Eder up front to deliver the goods. I think Eder might be replaced for El Sharaawy to give this team more pace against this Swedish defence. The Italian firepower has found the back of the net in 20 out of their last 21 games; so we can expect them to score a goal and then sit back and defend and attack on the counter, much like they did against Belgium.


Sweden managed to secure a draw in this encounter with Ireland, despite being quite attacking against them for most of the game. The Swedes rely a lot on Zlatan Ibrahimovic who managed to create an own goal out of nothing to help the team draw level with the Irish after going 1-0 down early on. Zlatan had to continue drop into midfield, while the wingers of Sweden like Larsson and Frosberg didn't deliver enough service to the forwards in order to score. They lacked a lot of quality to deliver a positive result, and I think they will continue to struggle against the strong Italian defence. The Swedish defence were shown to be considerably slower, and had to concede a lot of corners as a result and Italy will come to attack with pace, which might be a struggle for them. The Swedes have conceded in 7 out of their last 10 games including against sides like Ireland, Czech Republic, Turkey, Estonia and Denmark, this does not bode well for them against a better scoring Italian outfit.


The Italians showcased in the last game, why they are a team to worry about and why Antonio Conte is a top manager. The way the Italians set up to keep things tight at the back and attack on the counter, showcases the struggles that the Swedes will have especially since the Belgians were treated to a proper lesson. For this reasons, I am backing Italy to beat Sweden in this 2nd round encounter.


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Pick Bookmaker Odds Stake Result
Italy William Hill 2.00 7 1-0 WON (+7 units)
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