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Sweden vs Italy - World Cup Qualification Europe Preview and Odds

Published on: 10/11/2017

Sweden vs Italy - World Cup Qualification Europe Preview and Odds

November 10, 2017 19:45pm - Friends Arena

World Cup Qualification - Playoffs

In the standout fixture of the European World Cup playoffs, Sweden will look to end a 12-year absence from the FIFA tournament when they take on four-time former champions Italy.

Sweden were one of the surprise inclusions in the playoff draw after finishing second in their group just four points behind France and ahead of Netherlands and Bulgaria. They were rewarded with perhaps the toughest possible opponent in the playoff draw.

In their last match, they were beaten 2-0 by the Netherlands but by that point, they had already confirmed second place in the group. The key point in their campaign was the 2-1 home win over France which came in the middle of an eight-game run which included six wins.

Realistically, the home side may need to take all three points from Friday`s match with the second leg in Italy still to come. The good news is, they have not been beaten competitively on home soil in more than two year and have suffered just one defeat in their 11 home games overall.

Italy put in some uninspiring performances during qualifying and many fans have already started calling for the head of boss Gian Piero Ventura. With Spain in their group, it was always going to be tough but their style of play left a lot to be desired.

The low point was the 3-0 defeat to Spain side back in September, a result that left them with little chance of winning the group. They followed that up with a 1-1 draw at home to Macedonia as the Coach persisted with his controversial 4-2-4 system.

During the group campaign, Ventura resisted cries to call up Napoli`s in-form Jorginho but has since relented and included the midfield pivot in his playoff squad. Whether this will mean a change of system remains to be seen. But after remaining stubborn for so long, it now seems like a strange time to start tinkering with formations.

Recent form (All competitions)

Sweden: LDLWL

Italy: WWLDD

Betting odds and tips

Italy`s usually tight defense has leaked nine goals in their last 11 away matches, but they did manage to score in 10 of those games. What`s more, Sweden have netted in 12 of their last 13 matches on home soil.

As a result, the Both Teams to Score bet looks like the best option here, while the 1-1 correct score also appeals.

By Neil Morris

Published on: 10/11/2017

Any odds displayed within this preview were correct at the time of publishing (10/11/2017 11:28:51) but are subject to change.