By Piero Fiorino & Richard Bowman
Nobody will be hyping this game up as one of the best in the tournament but for the fans of the Azzurri, it was a great result after a very average 80+ minutes. Italy was content with just sitting back and waiting to counter out wide as Sweden’s attack was almost nonexistent. Through two games, Sweden still does not have a shot on goal and to make matters worse they have not taken any sort of advantage when it comes to having a threat like Zlatan Ibrahimovic up front. Italy knew this and just played disciplined with Giorgio Chiellini marking Ibrahimovic anytime he got near the box. There’s still plenty of room for improvement as Italy did not play their best game. It was a game of constant poor execution from Italy until Eder finally stepped up for them with a beautiful goal. Italy officially moves on to the knockout phase with today’s win as they’re now 2-0-0 with a +3 goal differential.
Starting Lineups + Subs
Daniele De Rossi
Eder puts Sweden away late
Piero Fiorino: Italy walks away with a win and an advancement to the Knockout stage of this year’s Euros as they down Sweden 1-0. Italy didn’t play a stellar game, but they did exactly what they needed to do to secure a win and a place in the next stage. Eder was the savior for Italy on offense, as he netted a kick from just inside the box in the 88th minute for the Azzurri. Eder can’t get all the credit, though. Italy’s defense, led by Giorgio Chiellini, stepped up once more and denied any chances Created by the Swedish attack. Italy’s next match will be against the Republic of Ireland on Wednesday, June 22nd.
Performance Grade: B
Richard Bowman: It wasn’t the best performance by the Azzurri, but they get the result they wanted. For much of the game, Italy played rock solid defense and had some nice setups but the offensive execution was lacking until the 88th minute when Eder turned it up a notch after getting a nice setup from Zaza who took full advantage of Chiellini’s monster throw-in. Chiellini really stood out defensively while Antonio Candreva routinely got the ball in deep and put some major pressure on Sweden in front of their net. For the first time in who knows how long, Italy cruises through the group stage which has always been their biggest Achilles heel in major tournaments.
Performance Grade: C+
Man of the Match:
Piero Fiorino: Giorgio Chiellini
Analysis: Although Eder did score the goal that will send Italy to the Knockout stage, without Chiellini’s presence and leadership on defense, Who knows what Sweden could have capitalized on.
Richard Bowman: Eder
Analysis: Initially I was going to go with Antonio Candreva, however, after how much I’ve been ragging Eder on twitter, I feel like he deserves this. Eder’s first touch this tournament has not been good, he’s rarely had possession and when he does, it typically results in a loss of possession. That all changed in the 88th minute as he not only showcased a good touch but more importantly maintained possession and got the beautiful goal to secure Italy a spot in the knockout phase.
Player That Needs to Step Up vs Republic of Ireland:
Piero Fiorino: Graziano Pelle
Richard Bowman: Graziano Pelle
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