Italy were impressive winners over Belgium on Monday as Sweden proved to be poor against Ireland and Will Burns is expecting more of the same in Friday’s contest.
Friday 17th June 2016 – 14:00 BST
EURO 2016 – GROUP E
ITALY v SWEDEN
The Azzurri under the guidance of Antonio Conte for the last time before he moves onto pastures new after the summer, got off to the perfect start in a tough game against Belgium with a 2-0 win., that never looked in doubt. Goals from former Sunderland winger Emanuele Giaccherini and Southampton big man Graziano Pelle sent Marc Wilmots’ men packing and I see more of the same against Sweden on Friday.
The Swedes, lead by Erik Hamren, was involved in a disappointing in their opening Group E game with Republic of Ireland this past Monday. Hamren, in the past, has been criticised for his lack of tactical ideas and this was evident in the 1-1 draw. If it was not for Ciaran Clark’s unfortunate own goal, then Sweden would end up on the sorry side of a defeat.
The Irish, with ease, managed to keep Zlatan Ibrahimovic quiet and give themselves hope of Euro 2016 progression although Martin O’Neill’s side will look at the score as two points dropped. Sweden’s one play in this tournament so far is ‘Get the ball to Zlatan’. His supporting cast is far less classy as the one in the Paris Saint-Germain side, so the whole world revolves around him in this team. Unfortunately, for the Swedes and Zlatan, I cannot see a one-man team will not beat eleven of Italy on Friday afternoon. The make matters worse for Hamren, he will be without first choice right-back Mikael Lustig of Celtic who misses out due to injury.
The Italians, as usual, hard-working and organised with the team built around a solid defence. The three central defenders sit tight giving the wing-backs the license to roam and this is where I can see the game being won for Italy. Conte’s only injury worry is an ankle injury to Pelle which may see him miss out, although it is expected he will be ready for Friday afternoon.
If Matteo Darmian and Antonio Candreva can deliver some crosses into the box from deep, then if fit, Pelle will be on hand to nod them home. With his towering intimidating presence and his ability to outjump any defender, I see him being a big threat in this contest and great potential to notch a goal or two in a decent Italy win.
TIP: Italy to win (1.85 at William Hill)
TIP: Graziano Pelle to score anytime (2.85 at 888Sport)