Minute-by-minute report: Will Sweden or Italy gain a significant first-leg advantage in Stockholm? Join Ben Fisher to find out
It is crunch time. Italy are 180-odd minutes away from missing out on a World Cup for the first time since 1958. To avoid that happening, they’re in Stockholm tonight for the first leg and, in an ideal world, they will take something from this match ahead of the return leg at the San Siro on Monday.
Both teams failed to secure an automatic spot in Russia next year, after finishing second in their respective groups. Sweden were runners-up to France in Group A, while Italy were runners-up to Spain in Group. Gaining any kind of advantage from tonight’s match is big business. Just ask Daniele De Rossi. “We are expecting two games in which we cannot afford to make mistakes,” the Italy midfielder said. “The stakes are so high that the idea of shedding blood and sweat is appropriate. We must give everything right to the finish.” And that tees this one up quite nicely.
Team news will be upon us shortly.
Kick-off: 7.45pm GMTRead more at theguardian.com