world cup: Italy lose to Sweden in World Cup play-off first leg | Football News
STOCKHOLM: Sweden claimed a treasured 1-Zero first-leg victory over Italy of their World Cup play-off at Stockholm on Friday, leaving the four-time champions at risk of lacking the event for the primary time in 60 years.
Substitute Jakob Johansson grabbed the one aim of a scrappy sport within the 61st minute with a low strike that discovered the nook with assistance from a giant deflection.
Gian Piero Ventura’s Italy might want to reply in Monday’s return leg on the San Siro in Milan to keep away from turning into solely the second Azzurri outfit to fail to achieve the finals.
The final time Italy failed to achieve the World Cup was for the 1958 event in Sweden, however Ventura’s facet have been already underneath stress going into the tie after a disappointing finish to their Group G marketing campaign that featured a Three-Zero loss in Spain and a 1-1 residence draw with Macedonia.
“We might have executed higher, in fact, however there are nonetheless 90 minutes left to play,” Ventura, who took over from Antonio Conte after Euro 2016, mentioned.
“It was a troublesome, bodily match that might have gone a unique method if we scored first.
“The efficiency of the referee was good general, however I believe that he allowed the match to be bodily on the expense of method… He most likely did not have full management of the match.”
Andrea Belotti shook off an damage to associate Ciro Motionless up entrance, however the away group struggled to pose a constant attacking menace, as Ventura left in-form Napoli winger Lorenzo Insigne sitting on the bench till the 76th minute.
Each side created early half-chances, with Torino striker Belotti heading huge when he ought to have executed higher, and Ola Toivonen firing previous the publish on the different finish simply seconds later.
Roared on by a vociferous residence crowd, Sweden put Italy underneath stress with their direct type of play and Emil Forsberg went shut with a curling effort that flew over the crossbar.
Italy suffered a blow when key midfielder Marco Verratti was handed a reserving that dominated him out of Monday’s second leg for a lunging deal with on Marcus Berg.
Veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who will retire from worldwide responsibility after the World Cup marketing campaign, confirmed wonderful tempo off his line to claw the ball away from Toivonen, as neither group managed to carve out a clear-cut alternative in a primary half with out an effort on the right track.
The guests lastly produced a shot in anger shortly after the break when Antonio Candreva fired a dipping shot which was punched away by residence keeper Robin Olsen.
A scrappy sport was by no means more likely to be determined by a second of brilliance, and it was a fortunate break that gave Janne Andersson’s males the lead simply after the hour mark.
Johansson latched onto Toivonen’s header from an Emil Krafth lengthy throw to fireplace a shot that wrong-footed Buffon after spinning off Daniele de Rossi.
It was the right time for the AEK Athens midfielder to attain his first worldwide aim, having solely come off the bench 4 minutes earlier.
“It is unbelievable, I put my aim right down to intuition. Nice timing for my first worldwide aim,” Johansson mentioned.
Italy instantly stepped up their sport in quest of a treasured away aim and Manchester United full-back Matteo Darmian rattled the publish with a thunderous long-range strike.
Insigne created a late opening for Motionless, however the Lazio striker summed up a poor evening for Italy with a wild shot that nearly went out for a throw-in, as Sweden closed out a win that offers them an actual probability of reaching the World Cup for the primary time since 2006.