#WCQ: Sweden 1:0 Italy – (Match Report) Italy at the verge of missing Russia 2018?

Italy manager Giampiero Ventura says his side need a “great performance” in the second leg of their play-off with Sweden if they are to avoid missing out on a first World Cup since 1958.

The Swedes won the first leg 1-0 at the Friends Arena, the only goal coming when Jakob Johansson drilled home from 20 yards, via a Daniele de Rossi deflection.

They were the better team in the first half, and while the Azzurri slightly improved after the break, they were still disappointing. Matteo Darmian went closest to equalising but hit the post.

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Italy – who will be without the suspended Marco Verratti – will need to win Monday’s second leg at the San Siro to reach the World Cup in Russia.

Ventura said: “This result is punishing. I hope that in Milan the officials give to us what they granted to them here.

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“In a match as important as this we wanted a more even-handed approach. Now all that matters is getting the result.

“We have to turn everything on its head back in Milan. San Siro must give us a hand too but it is up to us to deliver a great performance for our fans.”

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