EURO 2016: Italy-Sweden
Friday fixtures will be opened with an interesting Group E clash between Italy and Sweden. The current group leaders, Italy proved their worth in their opener against star-studded Belgium and they are now looking to book their spot in the play-offs with another win. The Swedes, on the other hand, failed to impress in their opening duel against Ireland, claiming just one point for a 1:1 draw. Consequently, Italy will be the favourites of these two sidesÃ‚Â´ head-to-head encounter that will take place at 3 PM (CET) at the Municipal Stadium in Toulouse.
Italy were very successful with their qualifying campaign but the results they produced in the preparation for the tournament were a way less impressive, which made it hard to speculate about how the Italians would do at EURO 2016. In their opening match, Squadra Azzurra faced off Belgium who have one of the most star-packed teams at the tournament. Nevertheless, ConteÃ‚Â´s men delivered a very good and disciplined performance against the Belgians, based on well-organized defence and fast breaks. Eventually, Italy clinched a somewhat surprising but well-deserved 2:0 win in the fixture, significantly boosting both their confidence and advancement chances. In their next match, the Italians will take on Sweden who they keep a healthy record against, having been unbeaten in their last four meetings with the Scandinavians. Italy are expected to prevail in the match this time too, although they might be without their forward Pelle who suffered a minor injury in the last game.
After failing to secure their spot at the European championship in the qualifying group where they finished third, Sweden had to go the play-offs to earn their advancement to the tournament. In their preparatory duels, the Swedes were not convincing either, leaving their fans doubtful about their EURO 2016 campaign. In the first match, HamrenÃ‚Â´s side were to play the groupÃ‚Â´s outsiders Ireland. However, the Irish put in a good showing in the fixture, holding Sweden to a 1:1 draw which was actually quite lucky for the Swedish team who only equalized the score thanks to an own goal scored by Irish defender Clark. Yet, considering who Sweden will play in their next group matches, the draw cannot be considered a good result. The Swedes need to clinch at least one victory to keep their chances of progressing from the group alive but if they want to achieve the win in their next game against in-form and confident Italy, they have to greatly improve their performance.
Italy proved it takes more than just famous names on paper to produce good results as they bested star-studded Belgium in their first EURO 2016 game. Encouraged by this glorious win, Italy are now high on confidence ahead of their next match and they will surely do their best to keep up the winning spirit. The Swedes are in a less favourable situation. After claiming just one point against Ireland, they are under pressure to pick up better result in their next match. Will they pull together to steal some points from the Italian favourites? Or will it be Italy who will be more satisfied with the outcome of this interesting fixture? We will know by Friday afternoon.
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