Monday, 20 November, 2017

World Cup without Italy would be a 'disaster', says Low

Sweden and Italy gear up for World Cup playoff clash World Cup without Italy would be a 'disaster', says Low
Kristopher Love | 13 November, 2017, 23:22

Italy face Sweden tonight in their World Cup play-off game knowing that they are in real danger of missing football's showpiece event for the first time since 1958. "Italy are a great nation that has nearly always played the World Cup".

Italy host Sweden in the second leg on Monday at San Siro, looking to overturn the narrow defeat in Solna in attempt to reach a 15th consecutive finals.

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson was in Sweden to see their World Cup playoff win over Italy. The team has been out of World Cup only twice - in 1930, the first-ever World Cup when they did not enter, and in 1958.

"We need to be as clear headed as possible to go to the World Cup", said captain Buffon, who conceded a goal by Swedish substitute Jakob Johansson that was deflected by Daniele de Rossi. Some players that did not start in the game like Alessandro Florenzi, Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardreschi may be able to make an impact in Milan if they get into the starting XI. "We, on the other hand, have nothing to lose and will put in a strong performance, just as we did in Stockholm", said the defender in his Press conference.

"We are not stressed, personally I am focused on the game and I hope fans will support us".

He added: "We want to send Italians a message not with words, but with action on the pitch".

"We know we can win this game, we dream to qualify for the World Cup, it's an important game for us and for the history of the national team".

"In my career, I already faced moments like this one, sometimes it went good, sometimes it went bad. It would be a great satisfaction to qualify for the World Cup". Italy qualified in 1998 when we beat Russian Federation in the play-offs I was playing and my father was the manager, Italy must qualify.

The 27-year-old's second-half strike means Sweden travel to Italy on Monday with the advantage ahead of the all-important second leg at the San Siro. Ireland take on Denmark in Dublin on Tuesday, with the tie finely poised at 0-0 after the teams' draw in Copenhagen on Saturday.