Eder scored a late winner to give Italy a 1-0 victory over Sweden in their second Euro 2016 Group E match here on Friday and booked the Azzurri a berth in the last 16.
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The 29-year-old Italo-Brazilian collected a pass from Zaza and danced through the Sweden defence before finishing superbly past goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson in the 88th minute.
Anonio Conte’s side qualified from the group by scoring two wins from as many matches. They beat world second-ranked Belgium 2-0 in their opening game.
Conte said the victory has helped silenced the critics in the country.
“There should be great satisfaction,” he said. “There are very few who would have thought of us qualifying for the last 16 after just two games. Many were even doubting us going through and the fact we’re into the last 16 after just two games is a huge satisfaction.”
Italy have not created many chances during the match which was surprisingly dominated by Sweden. The north European team had 17 dangerous attacks to Italy’s eight in the first half and controlled possession with 59 percent. But Juventus back three of Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci and Andrea Barzagli proved solid and effective to keep their goal intact.
But Conte said that Sweden’s dominance created little threat for them.
“Sweden never had a shot on goal,” he said. “Buffon didn’t have one single save to make. This proves that we are strong to grow and gain that respect that only few were giving us before.
“We’ve beaten a side we’ve always struggled against in the past so I’m happy that we’ve done this without conceding any real chances, also hitting the crossbar and creating chances.”
Sweden created the best chance of the game in the 73rd minute when Martin Olsson crossed from the left, Zlatan Ibrahimovic missed the target from close range.
Ibrahimovic, who could become the first player to score in four European Championships with a goal, was apparently angry with himself.
Italy responded quickly and powerfully nine minutes later. Marco Parolo headed against the bar from about six meters out after a wonderful feed in from Emanuele Giaccherini.
Sweden, who were held by Ireland 1-1 in their last match, will face Belgium in the last group match and they need a win to qualify.
Erik Hamren, the head coach of Sweden, is very disappointed with the defeat.
“We played very well in the match,” he said. “We defended well and we really succeeded in closing down Italy’s game, but it was only towards the end of the game that we lost a bit of concentration.”
“Today we met a really strong defending team and even Belgium, whom I think are a very strong attacking team, did not score against Italy.