Italy v Sweden: Impressive Azzurri will win to nil against Swedes

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A flat and uninventive Sweden only scraped a point against Republic of Ireland on Monday by virtue of Ciaran Clark’s unfortunate own-goal, and the Scandinavians will be no match for an Italy side packed with defensive steel and creative attackers.

Antonio Conte’s side produced a masterclass against Belgium, with star men like Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne nestled firmly in the pocket of the Azzurri defence, while Italy’s front-men were devastating on the counter-attack.

That balance of style and steel helped Italy go unbeaten in qualifying, winning a tough group ahead of Croatia and Norway. And just as those strengths were plain to see against Belgium, Sweden’s weaknesses have also been apparent for some time.

Erik Hamren’s charges struggled to narrow victories over minnows Liechtenstein and Moldova en route to France, finishing third in their group with just 15 goals and suffering a 4-1 home humbling by Austria.

Their paltry goal return might surprise admirers of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but the simple fact is he doesn’t get good enough service from a Swedish midfield of rather mixed quality.

And, with Italy coming into this one on the back of five clean sheets in their last 11 competitive games, their attacking limitations will be laid bare by the Azzurri, whose Graziano Pelle and Ciro Immobile can unlock Sweden’s defence at the other end.

Italy are the men to back in the match betting, with 5/6 for Conte’s boys to come out on top, while it’s 12/5 for the draw and 17/4 for the Swedes to spring a surprise victory.

However, there could be even better value in backing Pelle and co. to win to nil at 13/8, while the 13/2 for Italy to record another 2-0 win could prove to be another very smart selection.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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Dave Burin

Dave graduated with an MA in English Literature at Durham University, and worked in marketing before joining the Ladbrokes News team. A Man United fan and avid groundhopper, he’s also an ardent follower of Rugby League. You can usually find him at a ground near you, clutching a big cup of tea.