Italy Defeat To Sweden 'Incorrect' Says Under-Fire Gian Piero Ventura

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The Swiss followed up a narrow 1-0 first-leg away against Northern Ireland with a 0-0 draw in Basel on Sunday night, while Croatia played out a 0-0 draw with Greece in Athens, but claimed a 4-1 aggregate win thanks to their thumping first-leg victory in Zagreb.

Italy need to overturn a 1-0 playoff first-leg defeat against Sweden at the San Siro on Monday, if they want to avoid a potential national humiliation likened to the "apocalypse" by supporters.

"We're Italy and if we qualify it will be by playing football", coach Gian Piero Ventura insisted ahead his team's crunch FIFA World Cup play-off against Sweden.

"They developed well and have good individual players".

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Sweden coach Janne Andersson said determination was strong despite Hamburg midfielder Albin Ekdal and defender Johan Larsson absent because of knocks.

There are two possible narratives as Italy prepare for their World Cup date with destiny against Sweden in Milan on tonight.

Including the loss to Spain and Friday's defeat to Sweden, Italy has scored just 3 goals in 5 qualifying games and now they must score at least one while not conceding in order to stand any chance of making it Russian Federation 2018.

"We analysed the things that went well and others that did not go so well".

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Marco Verratti misses out on the action through suspension and is expected to be replaced in the starting XI by Napoli's Lorenzo Insigne.

Italy not lost competitive home game since 1999. I'd love to play this game.

The 39-year-old is retiring at the end of the season and will win his 175th cap for the Italians when he takes to the San Siro pitch.

"We are not stressed, personally I am focused on the game and I hope fans will support us". The team has been out of World Cup only twice - in 1930, the first-ever World Cup when they did not enter, and in 1958.

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