Italy v Sweden
Friday 17 June, 11:00pm
Italy upset the odds to impressively beat a star-studded Belgium side in their opener but they now face a very different challenge against Sweden. Matches between these nations tend to be closely contested and in five meetings since 1998 there has never been more than one goal between the two sides.
Despite Italy’s opening win we expect another close affair as only once in their last 37 internationals have they scored more than twice. Moreover, since the 2008 Euros Italy have gone just W3-D5-L4 at major tournaments against sides we had ranked below them.
Sweden required a play-off to reach these Finals but they’ve lost just one of their last 11 matches and while they may be generally lacking in quality they will have the best player on the pitch in Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Looking at Euros, World Cups and Copa Americas since 1990 we see a draw trend in second matches in the opening group stage when one side has won their first game and the other has drawn theirs. We have 45 such matches with the side that won their opener going W18-D18-L9.
A draw would not be the worst result for either side, and with Italy’s poor attack likely to struggle against a side that will probably sit back and defend that is our best bet.
BACK – The Draw at 3.2