Italy 1 v 0 Sweden – Euro 2016 Group E

ITA 1 v 0 SWE – after clinically disposing of a much-fancied Belgium in their opening game, the Italians failed to live up to that performance in a drab win against an unadventurous Sweden. Zlatan Ibrahimovic could not inspire his nation as he has done many times before, the impenetrable Juventus trio of Andrea BarzagliLeonardo Bonucci, and Giorgio Chiellini keeping a clean sheet for the fourth successive game. To highlight the inept attacking prowess of Erik Hamrén‘s Blågult, in 180 minutes of the tournament so far they have not managed a single shot on target. Pathetic! Gli Azzurri coach Antonio Conte rolled the dice in the second half and threw on young Juve striker Simone Zaza for the ineffectual Graziano Pellè. It was a Zaza header that played in the diminutive Éder late in proceedings, the F.C. Internazionale Milano forward jinking past a static Swedish centre-back pairing to expertly fire the ball past a helpless Andreas Isaakson. That was literally the only highlight over 90 minutes in this instantly forgettable game that won’t be making any “best of” DVDs of the tournament. Sweden are unlikely to beat Belgium to try and sneak a 3rd place finish – a shot on target might be a more realistic goal. Italy will face the Irish with a rotated squad as they look forward to the knockout stages full of confidence. 

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