Belfast Telegraph

Sports Awards

Conte is hoping Italy can turn on the style

Sweden 0-1 Italy

By Robert Jones

Antonio Conte said he hoped qualifying for the knock-out stages would fill his Italian team with confidence after a 1-0 win over Sweden ensured their passage.

Italy have fallen at the group stage in three of the last six tournaments they have contested and not won the second match since Euro 2000 and, said Conte: "Everyone was anxious in the first half, there were skeletons in the closet, phantoms, ghosts from the past, that affected their performance.

"The group feels the burden of representing the country, particularly at a tricky time for the country. Winning breeds confidence and self-esteem. I hope these two wins will raise our confidence, at the start (of Euro 2016) they were a bit flat, like flat tyres, we are trying to pump them up each game.

"Now we have qualified with a game to play. We should be very pleased. Very few people would have envisaged us being through after two matches - a lot of people did not think we would get out of the group."

Conte said he would now rest players in the final group game - which could be to the benefit of their opponents next Wednesday, the Republic of Ireland.

"I won't make wholesale changes," he said, "I will pick a side to win the match, but also to rest players."

The game looked to be heading towards a dull goalless draw before Eder raced onto Zaza's knockdown to drive home from the edge of the box.

Sweden failed to produce a shot on goal for the second successive game, with captain and star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic kept quiet throughout.

Italy: Buffon, Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini,Florenzi (Sturaro 85), Parolo, De Rossi (Thiago Motta 74), Giaccherini, Candreva,

Pelle (Zaza 59), Eder.

Booked: De Rossi, Buffon.

Goals: Eder 88.

Sweden: Isaksson, Johansson, Lindelof, Granqvist, Olsson, Larsson, Ekdal (Lewicki 79), Kallstrom, Forsberg (Durmaz 79), Guidetti (Berg 85), Ibrahimovic.

Booked: Olsson.

Possession: Italy 49%, Sweden 51%

Shots on target: Italy 3, Sweden 0

Referee: Viktor Kassai (Hungary).

Belfast Telegraph