Italy leave it for late, down Sweden 1-0 to reach KO stage

Italy booked their ticket to the knock-out stage of Euro 2016 on Friday by beating Sweden 1-0 thanks to Eder's late goal.

Eder gave Italy the winner in the 88th minute to put the Azzurri onto six points and onto the knock-out stage for the fourth time in the last five European Championships.

It was the 11th goal of the 31 scored thus far at Euro 2016 to fall in the 87th minute or later.

"We knew it was going to be hard. Details make the difference in football and even throw-ins matter. And these are things we have been working on," the Inter Milan forward Eder said.

"Many were doubting us going through and the fact we're into the last 16 after just two games is a huge satisfaction," added coach Antonio Conte.

Sweden coach Erik Hamren was disappointed his team couldn't gather at least one point.

"Just feel disappointment, when we didn't succed," Hamren said.

"We defended really well until the goal when we lost focus a little. It looked like we lost the throw-in and didn't re-group too well."

Sweden now face an uphill battle to get out of the group stage with just one point. The Swedes have bowed out before the KO stage in the last two Euros and three of the last four.

"For us the difference is not that great. We needed to win before we faced Italy, so we need to win against Belgium. But we would rather have had 0-0 than a loss," Hamren said.

The Swedes sent a ball into the box in the third minute which got close to Zlatan Ibrahimovic but Giorgio Chiellini cleared the danger.

That proved to be the closest Hamren's men would get to the goal in the first half as Italy's defence did not allow a single shot on goal in the first 45 minutes.

But Italy did not trouble Sweden keeper Andreas Isaksson in the first half either, managing just one shot on goal as Sweden had 60 percent possession.

Both teams came out of the break with more willingness to risk something offensively. But neither could really threaten the other team for a while with Sweden still controlling the ball.

The Italians eventually worked harder to push forward down the right side and Antonio Candreva sent in a low cross in the 64th minute, but Isaksson was well positioned at the near upright.

Italy were just inches from pulling ahead in the 82nd minute with Emanuele Gianccherini sending a nice pass from the left side to Marco Parolo, but the Lazio midfielder's header from six yards out hit the crossbar.

The Italians finally broke through in the 88th minute off a throw-in from Chiellini which substitute Simon Zaza headed on to Eder, who worked his way through three defenders and blasted past Isaksson for the goal.

Sweden were calling for a penalty four minutes into stoppage time as two Swedes were surrounded and in contact with three Italian defenders. But the refereer refused to point to the spot.

Last update: Fri, 17/06/2016 - 20:14
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