Sweden 1-0 Italy: Jakob Johansson scores only goal of first leg
By James Walker-Roberts
Last Updated: 11/11/17 9:34am
Sweden grabbed a slender advantage from the first leg of their World Cup play-off against Italy after winning 1-0 in Stockholm on Friday.
Jakob Johansson scored the only goal of the game in the 61st minute, a heavily-deflected shot that wrong-footed Gianluigi Buffon.
Italy had the better of the second half but the closest they came to an equaliser was when Matteo Darmian struck the post with an effort from 25 yards.
The return leg takes place in Milan on Monday, live on Sky Sports Football.
Sweden: Olsen (6), Krafth (7), Granqvist (7), Lindelof (8), Augustinsson (7), Claesson (7), Ekdal (7), Larsson (6), Forsberg (6), Berg (6), Toivonen (6)
Subs: Johansson (7), Thelin (5), Svensson (5)
Italy: Buffon (6), Barzagli (6), Bonucci (6), Chiellini (6), Darmian (7), Verratti (6), De Rossi (5), Parolo (5), Candreva (5), Immobile (4), Belotti (4)
Subs: Eder (5), Insigne (5)
Man of the match: Victor Lindelof
And if Italy can't find more of a cutting edge than they did in Stockholm then they will be missing out on their first World Cup since 1958.
After Andrea Belotti headed narrowly wide in a frantic start, the visitors created little and didn't test Sweden goalkeeper Robin Olsen.
With Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Jose Mourinho watching in the stands, Ola Toivonen dragged an early shot past the post for the hosts while Emil Forsberg fired over with a first-time effort.
Despite having more possession, Italy were indebted to Buffon for saving from Marcus Berg and then diving to scoop clear the loose ball late in the first half.
Italy started on the front foot after half-time but fell behind when Johansson's shot took a deflection off a defender and beat Buffon.
Sweden were at full strength while Immobile and Belotti were deemed fit enough to make the Italy starting XI. Napoli's Jorginho and Chelsea's Zappacosta started on the bench.
Darmian almost levelled when he hit the post with a powerful strike from 25 yards, but otherwise Italy lacked ideas as they failed to break down a solid Sweden defence.
Man of the match - Victor Lindelof
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho would have surely liked what he saw from both his players - Lindelof and Darmian.
Both put in strong performances for their respective sides, with Lindelof particularly impressive in shackling Immobile, keeping the in-form Lazio striker quiet all match.
The two sides meet in Milan on Monday, with the winner advancing to the World Cup in Russia next summer.