Gabriele Oriali acknowledges Sweden is “not an easy draw” but “we’re Italy, we have tradition”.
The Azzurri have been drawn against the Scandinavian side in the World Cup play-offs, and with CT Giampiero Ventura not attending the draw, the team manager spoke to Sky about the tie.
“Destiny wanted to give us Sweden,” Oriali said.
“It could have been better, but we accept it. We’re Italy, and we have tradition. We’re positive even though the opponent is difficult.
“They have a very strong squad and they managed to finish second in a very difficult group after beating France and eliminating the Netherlands. “It’s not an easy draw, but what matters is having achieved our objective. Having been drawn with Spain, we wanted to reach at least the play-off.
“We also hope to have some injured players back, there’s still time and hopefully everyone will be at their best.
“[Andrea] Belotti is recovering, but there are only three days between the two matches. Don’t forget about [Daniele] De Rossi, [Marco] Verratti, [Lorenzo] Pellegrini, [Claudio] Marchisio… We hope to have as many as possible back.”
It has been reported that the game will be played at San Siro, but so far no decision has been taken.
“It hasn’t been decided yet, but it’s possible. We’re convinced that wherever we play we’ll get the right backing to express ourselves in a way worthy of Italy.
“The Coach is happy with the result, we only finished behind one of the best national teams in recent years.”