Sweden vs Italy 11/11/2017
Since 1958, Italy have been part of the big World Cup party and will be favorites to come through in this two-legged playoff. The second leg heads to Rome on Monday. The Italians are still the only past World Cup champions remaining yet to confirm their spot.
Sweden are a force of the old, a fact that has not gone unnoticed by Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Manchester United man thinks that the current Sweden team are able to play with less pressure now that he is not around.
The Swedes finished second in their group behind France with Marcus Berg and Ola Toivonen playing most games up front. RB Leipzig’s Emil Forsberg has taken over as the team’s star player.
Despite the negativity, Sweden are the top scorers among the eight playoff teams, with 26 goals in 10 qualifiers. The two countries met as recently in Euro 2016, Eder sealing all three points for the Italians with an 88th minute winner. The goal also stretched Italy’s unbeaten run against Sweden for almost two decades.
Keep a lookout for Simone Zaza, who was ridiculed for a silly run-up in the penalty shootout defeat to Germany in the tournament last year. The Valencia man is in white-hot form, having scored eight goals in his last seven games. He’s second to Lionel Messi in the La Liga scoring charts.