Our football match prediction:
All eyes will be on Friends Arena in Stockholm when Sweden and Italy face each other in the first leg of the 2018 World Cup play-offs. The Nordic side impressed in the qualifiers for the showpiece tournament in Russia, but France eventually finished the process in top position in Group A. Leipzig winger Emil Forsberg is undisputedly the team’s key player and the opposition defenders should have him at bay in Friday’s football match. The Azzurri picked up 23 points from possible 30 in their qualifying group, but star-studded Spain proved to be a big catch for Giampiero Ventura’s men. A man to watch in the away team will be Lazio attacker Ciro Immobile, who has been scoring goals for fun this season and he is likely to prove a handful for the opposition back-line. A lively contest appears on the cards and we predict that both teams will find the net in the first leg.
Highlighted Player (Marcus Berg):
Marcus Berg is a Swedish footballer who was born on 17 August, 1986. The 184-cm-tall attacker played for the likes of Torsby, Velen and Goteborg during his youth career and he continued playing for the Anglarna at senior level. Marcus Berg joined Groningen in 2007 and two years later he moved to Bundesliga, signing a deal with Hamburger SV. After spending the 2010/2011 season on loan at PSV, the Swedish striker made 13 appearances more for Hamburg and on 8 July, 2013 he joined Panathinaikos. Berg signed a four-year deal with the Greek outfit and it has to be noted that he scored his first goal for the team on his debut against Panetolikos. The Swedish striker scored 15 goals in the 2013/2014 Greek Superleague campaign with Panathinaikos. Berg has 19 appearances for Sweden U21 team and he made his 42nd for the first team at the 2016 European Championship finals in France. The Swedish forward is well known for his heading ability.
Highlighted Team (Italy):
With four World Cup titles and one European Championship trophy, Italy remain one of world’s most successful teams and they have also finished as runners up at major tournaments on four occasions. The Azzurri have become famous for their result oriented football over the years which is perfectly suited for World Cup and Euro finals, so it is now a surprise when they fail to reach the final stages. After winning the second and third edition of the World Cup, Italy endured a difficult period until lifting their first European Championship title in 1968, while they also managed to show some improvement at the turn of the century. While winning the 2006 World Cup in Germany, the Azzurri reached Euro finals in 2000 and 2012, and they are still regarded as one of the leading sides in Europe. There have been too many high-profile players leaving their mark on the national team to count, but the likes of Paolo Maldini, Gianluigi Buffon, Fabio Cannavaro, Dino Zoff, Roberto Baggio, Luigi Riva and Alessandro Del Piero will go down as some of the most successful ones.