Sweden threatens to defenestrate Italy from World Cup
ROME - The beleaguered Italian team was going in to a crucial match against Sweden Monday night, in a state of “high tension” as they are in danger of missing out on their first World Cup since 1958. Italy’s Coach, Gian Piero Ventura, said “we can make no mistakes, we are focusing on what we must do to win but if we fail to qualify everybody should take the blame,” but despite all this he reassures the nation “we are not stressed, personally I am focused on the game and I hope fans will support us.”
After Sweden beat Italy 1-0 in Stockholm on Friday, both teams were going into the match in Milan’s San Siro stadium fighting ready.
"I don't think Italy are a team that are just going to attack, because then they know that we will create chances and maybe score a goal in Italy, and then they need to score three," said Sweden captain, Andreas Granqvist.
There was no space for a narrow Italian victory in this match. The team, despite the obvious strain they are under, must get a decisive win against a team that has just proven that they can beat them. Sweden’s couch, Janne Andersson, is tactically minded towards the coming match: "it is really important that we do not end up in a defensive position where we have to defend our goal for 90 minutes; because they are so skilled that they will hurt as sooner or later.”
Granqvist, a former Genoa player, laughed at Ventura’s implication that is was bad luck and the referee’s fault that his team lost on Friday:
“of course there were some situations they were angry about, but this is football.”
The Swedes are not resting on their laurels. In light of Italian Captain, Gianluigi Buffon’s reminder that “this is an important game for the history of our national team” and that each player is “considering what is at stake and the sense of responsibility each of us must bear,” the Swedes are going into it thinking “We have nothing to lose and we will go onto the pitch to give a great performance," in the words of Grangvist.
After Marco Verratti’s suspension and Leonardo Bonucci wearing a protective mask after breaking his nose, both teams are hoping for a clean game.
The pitch will be the arena of psychological battle which will prove whether Italy can handle the strain of the nation or if Sweden is vicious enough to be a biting underdog.