Former Serie A striker Kennet Andersson believes Sweden will get the better of Italy in the World Cup play-offs, “but I wanted to see both in Russia.”
The nations will go head-to-head with the first leg in Stockholm on November 10 and the return at San Siro on November 13.
“As soon as I saw the draw I thought 'damn it'. Not because I think Sweden are inferior to Italy but because I hoped to see both teams in Russia next summer,” Andersson told Calciomercato.com.
“It is a tough draw, one of the toughest opponents possible with perhaps Croatia being the toughest opposition Sweden could have faced, but it is not an impossible challenge.
“Sure, Italy have been criticised recently, but they have a good team with quality players and are as Italy always have been a very tactically disciplined side.”
Andersson spent five and a half years in Italy, representing Bologna, Bari and Lazio.
“In the first match, Italy will be looking to get a draw in order to win the tie in the return leg at home at the San Siro. I don't expect to see an attacking Italy side in Stockholm, but more a side that wants to control proceedings and maybe hurt Sweden on the counter attack.
“At home Italy are very strong so the key is to win the first fixture at home because it will be very difficult if Sweden find themselves in a position where they have to win at San Siro.”
Andersson’s prediction will not be pleasing for Azzurri supporters.
“I think Sweden will win the first leg 1-0 at Friends Arena and squeeze out a 0-0 draw away.”