Friday Night World Cup Playoffs Preview and Odds – Sweden vs Italy

November 10, 2017 19:45pm

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Sweden: LDLWL

Italy: WWLDD

In what is perhaps the most eye-catching of the World Cup playoff matches, four-time former champions Italy take on a Sweden side aiming to reach the main event for the first time since 2006.

The home side did well to finish second in a group that contained France, Netherlands and Bulgaria. However, they have been handed arguably the most difficult draw in the playoffs.

By the time Janne Andersson’s men lost 2-0 to Netherlands in their final qualification match their second place finish in Groups A had already already confirmed (barring a mathematical miracle). Prior to that, they won six out of eight games including a 2-1 win over France, a result that probably made all the difference to their campaign in the end.

With a second leg in Italy to come, the Swiss side really need to take something from Friday’s game. They have lost just one of their last 11 competitive home matches and are unbeaten in over two years on home soil.

Meanwhile, Italy paid the price for some sub-par performances in qualifying by missing out on automatic qualification to next summer’s event. Admittedly, they had a resurgent Spain side in the group but it was the manner in which they fell short that disappointed many fans.

The 3-0 defeat to Julen Lopetegui’s men in September all but sealed their fate before a 1-1 draw at home to Macedonia left them with too much to do heading into the final game. Despite their shortcomings, Italy will be clear favourites for this game. Even if they get through there are those who would like to see the back of Coach Gian Piero Ventura and his much-maligned 4-2-4 system.

The long-awaited call up of Napoli’s Jorginho suggests that Ventura way switch formations but there is a fear that tweaking things at this crucial stage could backfire.


Italy have defied their reputation for astute defending by conceding in nine of their last 11 away matches, while scoring in 10. So, the both teams to score bet may come into play here, especially when you consider that Sweden have scored in all but one of their last 13 home matches.

Sweden’s strong record at home suggests that they could take something from this game and Italy themselves might be happy to share the spoils. As a result, the 1-1 is a tempting proposition.

You can back Both Teams to Score at 11/10 and a Correct Score of 1-1 at 11/2 – both with Betfair.

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