Italy have arguably been the most impressive side in the tournament after the first round of group stage games, they went into the game against Belgium in the rare position of underdogs but Antonio Conte masterminded a win that sees them go top of the group. A win over Sweden would mean they are the second nation to book their slot in the Round of 16
Many people haven’t had Italy pegged down as group favourites and it’s almost as if they are flying under the radar. That ultimately will suit Antonio Conte’s side but if they keep performing and more importantly winning then they won’t be flying under the radar for much longer
As for Sweden they could only come away with a point in their opener against the Republic Of Ireland. A draw that suited neither side but on the balance of play Sweden will probably feel grateful that they didn’t come away from that game empty handed
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is still hoping to be the first person to score in 4 different European Championships, that dream is still alive after Cristiano Ronaldo’s blank against Iceland earlier in the week. Ibrahimovic terrorised Italian defences on many occasions during his time there in Serie A and he would love nothing more than to get one over his old adversaries this Afternoon
Ibrahimovic was on hand to setup the equaliser for Sweden on Monday, his low cross was headed into his own net by the Republic’s Ciaran Clark. A get out of jail free card for the Swedes especially with Martin O’Neill’s side failing to convert their early chances
Sweden know they are going to need a positive result from this game especially with Belgium awaiting them in the final group game. Defeat here for Erik Hamren’s side and they will be really up against in terms of qualification for the Round of 16
Italy will go into this game as the favourites and will look to build on their impressive performance on Monday night. Graziano Pelle was on target that night and Italian Manager Conte will be hoping for more of the same this time around
As always when going up against a side with Zlatan Ibrahimovic in it, you are tasked with keeping him quiet. If the Italian’s can keep him quiet then they will be halfway to winning the game already, Italy may not have the superstars of previous squad but it’s still a dangerous outfit. I’ll go for an Italian win.