Italy's match yesterday against Sweden proved just how much talent the Italian Azzurri have in their ranks but have failed to click due to bad combinations. The entry of Pirlo, Cassano, Gattuso and a revitalised Del Piero provided a superb creative first one hour of football that had them take the lead in the first half through a Cassano goal after 37 minutes. The Azzurri outplayed the Swedes for an hour, tormenting them with exquisite passing, movement and touch. The Swedes looked outnumbered on the field and Italy should have killed them off, especially after taking the lead in the first half but Vieri put on a horror show missing numerous chances.
On paper, it's hard to bet against the Italians but something isn't quite right. The tables were turned in the last half hour of the game with the heat taking its toll on the players. Or was it the Italian boots again that allowed the Swedes back in to the game? The Swedes do not boast the household names of the Italians but they made up for that with a good first touch, excellent organisation and determination that saw them get the equalizer late in the match.
The trio of Henrik Larsson, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Freddy Ljungberg did it again and when the equalizer came, what a marvel it was; an incredible Ibrahimovic back heel flick that looped over Buffon, past a stunned Nesta.
The Swedes now need a point against the Danes, and the Azzurri have to win against Bulgaria on Tuesday 22 June to qualify for the quarter finals. They will also be without the services of Gattuso and their captain Cannavaro both suspended after collecting their second bookings.