ibusinesslines.com February 25, 2018

Could it be the end of an era for Buffon?

13 November 2017, 11:24 | Charlene Valdez

Sweden and Italy gear up for World Cup playoff clash

Sweden and Italy gear up for World Cup playoff clash

Four-time champions Italy face missing out on the World Cup for the first time since 1958 tonight, while Sweden are desperate to return to the world stage after missing the last two editions.

Italy has reached every World Cup since 1962.

Italy need to overturn a 1-0 playoff first-leg defeat against Sweden at the San Siro on Monday, if they want to avoid a potential national humiliation likened to the "apocalypse" by supporters.

Italy are set to face-off against Sweden tonight, in a match which the Italians will have to win by an advantage of at least two goals over their opponents if they are to qualify for the World Cup, due to be held next year in Russian Federation.

The team will be without Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti.

Keeping a clean sheet, then, could be central to Italian hopes of qualification and Betfair Sportsbook go just 4/6 (1.67) that Sweden fail to find the net, while the same firm go even money (2.0) that Ventura's men win without conceding; Betfair Sportsbook go 7/5 (2.40) that the Azzurri win by at least two clear goals in this game. Some players that did not start in the game like Alessandro Florenzi, Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardreschi may be able to make an impact in Milan if they get into the starting XI.

"It is an important game for the history of our national team".

"We are not stressed, personally I am focused on the game and I hope fans will support us. Sweden are a solid side and their behaviour will make little difference, it all depends on us", he said.

"I've already faced similar situations in my career, sometimes I've succeeded, some other times I've failed".

The winners of the Italy-Sweden tie will join Switzerland and Croatia as qualifying for Russian Federation 2018 via the European play-offs.

The 27-year-old's second-half strike means Sweden travel to Italy on Monday with the advantage ahead of the all-important second leg at the San Siro.

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