Date: 17th June 2016 at 8:00am
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Italy will look to become the second nation to book their place in the last-16 of EURO 2016 when they take on Sweden in Group E on Friday afternoon.

The Azzurri, who top their respective group following their impressive opening 2-0 win over Belgium, can join tournament hosts France in the Round of 16 if they record back-to-back defeats.

Goals from Sunderland midfielder Emanuele Giaccherini and Southampton striker Graziano Pelle capped off a fine display in Lyon.

Meanwhile the Swedes were pinned back to a 1-1 draw against the Republic of Ireland in their Group E opener on Monday.

This was despite Erik Hamren’s men failing to register a single shot on target during the 90 minutes of play.

After comfortably fending off EURO 2016’s top-seeded nation, Belgium; Antonio Conte’s Italians will be full of confidence as they look to make it six points from a possible six inside Toulouse’s Stadium Municipal.

However the Azzurri will have to wary of Sweden danger man, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who assisted Ciaran Clark’s (Rep of Ire) own goal earlier this week, after he spent seven years playing in Serie A for the Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan.

Italy are currently on a four-match unbeaten run against Sweden – winning three and drawing the other. On the other hand; the Scandinavians’ last victory dates all the way back to June 1998.

However, in the last six competitive meetings against Sweden, the Azzurri have failed to record a clean sheet – presenting veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon an added incentive.

Under incoming Chelsea boss Conte; Italy are also unbeaten in their 11 competitive games – winning eight – with their last defeat coming against Uruguay back in June 2014.

Ibrahimovic; who is tipped to complete a summer switch to Premier League giants Manchester United after the EUROs, is the last Swedish star to score against the Azzurri during EURO 2004.

Photo: Marc Atkins / Offside.

Southampton forward Pelle netted Italy’s second goal against Belgium on Monday – Photo: Marc Atkins / Offside.

Team News:

Forward Pelle suffered a football problem towards the latter stages of Italy’s Group E opener against Belgium, having also earlier dislocated his finger, but he is expected to recover in time for kick-off.

This means boss Conte could named an unchanged Italian side in Toulouse, although Manchester United full-back Matteo Darmian could be dropped after being substituted on the hour-mark.

Meanwhile; Sweden may be without right-back Mikael Lustig, who was forced off against Ireland due to a groin injury.

He is likely to be replaced by centre-back Erik Johansson, with Victor Lindelof switching to right-back.

FIFA World Ranking: Italy – 12th; Sweden– 35th
Best European Championship Finish: Italy – Winners (1968); Sweden – Semi-finals (1992)
Previous Meeting: Italy 1-0 Sweden – November 18, 2009 (International friendly)
Form: Italy – LWWDDW; Sweden – WLDDWD
Key Men: Italy – Leonardo Bonucci; Sweden – Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Shoot Says: Italy 2-0 Sweden

 
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