Our football match prediction:
Italy will be aiming to overcome a one-goal deficit in the tie against Sweden when the two teams face each other at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza in the second leg of the 2018 World Cup play-offs. The Yellow and Blues proved their worth in the first leg, with midfielder Jakob Johansson scoring the winner for the Nordic side, but it remains to be seen if they are capable of defending their slim lead. The Azzurri need to go all guns blazing at the Swedes in the return leg, but they should keep a clean sheet as well if they are to book their place at the next year’s tournament in Russia. Ciro Immobile failed to impress in the first leg, but we predict that the Lazio attacker, who has been scoring goals for fun in the Serie A this season, is going to prove a handful for the opposition defenders in Monday’s football match.
Highlighted Player (Buffon):
Gianluigi Buffon is a legendary Italian goalkeeper. The 191-cm-tall shoot-stopper was born in Carrara, Italy on 28 January, 1978 and he began his senior career at Parma. After making 169 league appearances for the Gli Emiliani, he joined Juventus in 2001 and he has been playing for the “Old Lady” ever since. Buffon is regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the history of football and he won seven Serie A trophies with Juve. In 2006 he helped Italy clinch the FIFA World Cup trophy as they defeated France on penalties in the title game. He managed to keep no less than five clean sheets at the showpiece tournament in Germany. Buffon set a number of records and it has to be noted that he is a goalkeeper with most number of clean sheets and penalty kicks saved in the Serie A. His mother Mara Stella was a discus thrower, while his father Adriano was a weightlifter. Gigi’s contract with Juve expires on 30 June, 2018.
Highlighted Team (Sweden):
Sweden are the most successful Nordic side on international stage having been present at major competitions since 1934. Blagult missed out on the 1952 World Cup trophy on home soil as they were beaten by star-studded Brazil side, while they finished in third place at the 1950 and 1994 tournaments, and finishing fourth on their second appearance in 1938. As far as their European Championship record is concerned, Sweden also achieved their best result in front of home fans, reaching the last four in 1992, and they have since reached the quarter-finals at Euro 1994 in Portugal. Anders Svensson and Thomas Ravelli are team’s most capped players with over 140 appearances each, but it is strikers Henrik Larsson and Zlatan Ibrahimovic that will go down as the most famous Swedish footballers in history. The later also leads the goalscoring charts with over 60 strikes for the national team and he is widely regarded as one of the most colourful characters, not only in Scandinavia, but in world football.