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Sweden shatter Italy's World Cup dream
14 November 2017, 12:43 | Pamela Mathis
The Crystal Palace boss was present as Sweden beat Italy 1-0 in World Cup play-off first leg
The Swiss followed up a narrow 1-0 first-leg away against Northern Ireland with a 0-0 draw in Basel on Sunday night, while Croatia played out a 0-0 draw with Greece in Athens, but claimed a 4-1 aggregate win thanks to their thumping first-leg victory in Zagreb.
Sweden recorded a memorable victory over Italy on Friday with a one-goal advantage into the second leg at the San Siro!
Those three players are 26 or under and, along with forwards Ciro Immobile and Andrea Belotti, could form the spine of a rejuvenated Italy side for several years to come.
But why do we want Italy to qualify?
"It is really important that we do not end up in a defensive position where we have to defend our goal for 90 minutes, because they are so skilled that they will hurt as sooner or later".
"It will be tough for coach Gian Piero Ventura to find the right words to say to the group".
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Neither team was particularly impressive in the first leg of this matchup but Italy had a very disappointing display.
"We analyzed the things that went well and others that did not go so well".
The big news from the first leg is that Marco Verratti will miss the second contest after picking up a yellow card in Sweden.
Italy is a team that can not afford to miss out on the next World Cup while Sweden is trying to prosper after Zlatan Ibrahimovic's retirement from the national team.
The four-time winners, a regular fixture at the tournament since missing their last one in 1958, could not get past Sweden in the qualifiers.
"We are Italy and, if we qualify, I would like to be able to say that we did it by playing football", Ventura said at the pre-match press conference. "The only thing that I would have would be a personal satisfaction, but in the wider scheme of things, I am irrelevant". Immbobile beat Olsen with another but Andreas Granqvist got back for a decisive goal-line clearance.
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Things happen during a game like this. "Colombia have world-class players, and I was extremely disappointed to see such action". Colombia heads to China for another World Cup warm-up match on Tuesday, while South Korea hosts Serbia.
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