Italy will hope to continue from their first match performance in Euro 2016 when they come up against Sweden. This Group E encounter will be played at the Stadium Municipal in Toulouse on Friday, June 17.
For the first time in the build-up to Euros, Italy weren’t even mentioned as potential contenders for the title. But contrary to these expectations, Italy surprised a strong Belgium side in the opening match by 2-0 in a performance that would surely have caught everyone’s notice. The organizational skill and defense abilities which has always been a forte of Italian teams was evident throughout the Belgium game.
Surprisingly they showed quality in the attack too with wing backs Matteo Darmian and Antonio Candreva impressing with their runs. Goals from Emmanuelle Giaccherini and Graziano Pelle were enough to shock Belgium and capture full points. Antonio Conte must be happy at the way things unfolded in the first match and would hope for more of the same against Sweden.
Sweden on the other hand would be massively disappointed after only a draw against Northern Ireland. They were dominant for most of the match but that domination translated to only a point. Wes Hoolahan gave Ireland the lead but Sweden fought back with an equalizer through Ciaran Clark.
Draw was a fair result to both the sides but it wasn’t a result that suited either of them. Sweden would now have to go for a win against Italy and anything less than that will jeopardize their progression hopes.
Italy could use the same team that started the tournament excellently against Belgium. The only concern for Conte is the four players on yellow cards who would be treading on a thin line. Sweden could make some changes to add teeth to their attack. Defender Victor Lindelof is on a yellow card for the Swedes.
Although Italy are criticized in the lead-up to the tournament, their recent record has been pretty impressive. They have lost only twice in their last ten encounters and scored at least once in all those matches. They also have a favorable record against Sweden having won three of their previous six encounters.
Sweden have lost only once in their last ten encounters but have drawn five of those. They have been heavy scorers too with five of those games witnessing them scoring two or more goals. And the fact that they failed to score in only one game means we could be in for a high scoring encounter.
Back Italy to win the game.