The Italians appear to be glad that Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the hulking Swedish striker is no longer part of the team. It was in fact after the Euro 2016 tournament, where Italy beat Sweden 1-0 that he retired. Daniele De Rossi, the Italian midfielder has claimed in the build-up to the game "I never want to play against him again, not even if he was 40 with a broken leg."
Italy might be happy to see no big-name strikers in the Sweden line up but the Azzurri are facing issues with their strikers in the build-up to this crucial tie. Ciro Immobile and Andrea Belotti are not considered to be at full fitness. Valencia Striker, Simone Zaha was most likely to lead the line - but has been ruled out due to a knee injury. You may remember his last outing for the Azzurri ended in a penalty miss - the striker has recently claimed after the miss he was playing under a 'dark cloud'.
It is now expected that Andrea Belotti or Eder will partner Immobile up front.
If you're neutral watching this match then it will be hard not to side with the Italians, if not just because this will be the last international tournament that Buffon will play in.
It was also all the way back in 1958 that Italy last failed to reach the World Cup, a tournament that Sweden hosted. They had been knocked out by Northern Ireland who beat them 2-1 in Belfast.
For the superstitious Italians, this was the reason they didn't want to be drawn against N.Ireland in the playoffs. However, if we are to go down this route, it might be good to know that despite Italy not having lost to Sweden since 1998, they have not won in Stockholm since 1912.
So, to the odds:
- The best odds you can find at the moment for an Italy win are with Betfair at 13/10.
- A draw is being offered by multiple bookies at 21/10.
- The best odds for a Sweden win are 14/5 with BetStars and Betway.
- The bookies have 1-1 as the most likely score: the best odds on this result are 11/2 with William Hill, Betfair and BetStars.
- A 0-1 victory for Italy is the second most likely outcome and you can find the best odds with SkyBet and Betfair at 11/2.
- To qualify for the two-legged playoff Italy are the favourites and you can find odds of 3/1 at most bookies.