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Italy defeat Sweden and qualify to the round of 16

The Azzurri had a tough afternoon in Toulouse, but still managed to defeat Sweden and qualify to the round of 16.

Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

The second game of these international tournaments has always been a problem for Italy, according to the statistics, and Sweden were probably one of the toughest opponents they could have faced after the incredible victory against Belgium.

Antonio Conte decided not to make a lot of changes replacing only Matteo Darmian, who didn’t play well on Monday, with AS Roma’s Alessandro Florenzi as left winger. The Azzurri had to make some tactical adjustment against Sweden in order to limit Zlatan Ibrahimovic so their 3-5-2 didn’t look as good as usual, especially in the first half. Italy missed a lot of easy touches and short passes that could have put them in good position to threaten Sweden’s slow defenders.

The Azzurri started the second half in a different way, playing aggressively and quickly. Marco Parolo missed a couple of good opportunity early slowing down the offensive maneuver but then hit the crossbar on a great header perfectly served by Emanuele Giaccherini, one of the best players for the Azzurri. Simone Zaza, who subbed in for Graziano Pellè, gave all he had in the 30 minutes he spent on the pitch and served a great aerial assist for Eder who finally scored the game winner on a great cut from the left wing.

Unfortunately, Mattia De Sciglio, the only player from AC Milan in this team, didn’t play, but Italy got the three points and qualified to the next round. It wasn’t pretty, but the Azzurri still managed to get the job done against a tough opponent like Sweden.