Eder scored at the 88th minute to give Italy a 1-0 victory over Sweden and secure qualification for the Euro 2016 Round of 16.
The Azzurri opened their Euro 2016 campaign with an impressive 2-0 victory over Belgium, while Sweden thanked an own goal for their 1-1 with the Republic of Ireland. Antonio Conte made only one change, bringing in Alessandro Florenzi for Matteo Darmian. Sweden lost Mikael Lustig to a groin injury, but relied on ex-Juventus, Inter and Milan superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
This was their first meeting since November 2009, a friendly decided by Giorgio Chiellini, but bad memories remained from Sweden and Denmark knocking Italy out of the Euro 2004 group phase.
Within two minutes Chiellini needed a decisive header to stop Ibra nodding in at the back post, while Florenzi’s scuffed shot was comfortably smothered and Andreas Isaksson soared to punch away a dangerous Antonio Candreva cross.
A Martin Olsson cross-shot skimmed the bar and Ibrahimovic’s header was off target after he’d been caught offside anyway.
Candreva’s cross was finding Pellè at the far post until Johansson decisively hooked it away and moments later John Guidetti blasted off target from Kim Kallstrom’s knock-down.
Andrea Barzagli needed some acrobatic defending to clear the Ibra danger from eight yards. There were few chances, but Sweden dominated possession in the first half despite not having a single shot on target yet in the tournament.
Eder had not even attempted a pass in the first half, but after the restart his pull-back was blasted over by Pellè, then the Inter striker’s first touch was awful on a Florenzi corner. Marco Parolo did the same on another set play that fell kindly, walking it straight out of play.
Simone Zaza came on and immediately sparked a good move, but Parolo hesitated and by the time he set up Emanuele Giaccherini, Kallstrom had closed him down in the box.
Candreva volleyed a Florenzi cross at the by-line, smothered by Isaksson, but Ibrahimovic had again strayed offside and that saved his blushes when firing over from a yard.
Italy’s best chance came on 82 minutes, as Giaccherini’s cross found Parolo at the back post for a header that bounced off the crossbar.
The deadlock was finally broken in the final minutes, as Zaza knocked down a long Chiellini throw-in for Eder, who cut in past three defenders to curl a finish into the far bottom corner from the edge of the box. It was a great response to those who criticised the Inter striker’s inclusion in the squad, as he had scored only one club goal in six months.
Candreva stung Isaksson’s gloves at the near stick and Gigi Buffon was booked in stoppages. Sweden had penalty appeals waved away for a Leo Bonucci tussle right at the death, as the referee awarded a free kick in Italy's favour.
Italy hadn’t won the second group game in a tournament since Euro 2000, followed by five draws and two defeats.
Italy 1-0 Sweden
Eder 88 (I)
Italy: Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Candreva, Parolo, De Rossi (Thiago Motta 74), Giaccherini, Florenzi (Sturaro 85); Eder, Pellè (Zaza 59)
Sweden: Isaksson; Lindelöf, Granqvist, Johansson, Olsson; Larsson, Ekdal (Lewicki 79), Källström, Forsberg (Durmaz 79); Guidetti (Berg 85), Ibrahimovic
Ref: Kassai (HUN)
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