Sweden qualifies for the World Cup!15th Nov 2017 |
Sweden had to qualify for the World Cup 2018 in Russia by playoff after finishing second. When the playoff games were drawn. Sweden drew against Italy. A country that qualified for every World Cup since ’58.
The first game in Sweden
The first game was played in Stockholm, at the Friends Arena. The tickets sold out in less than 2 hours of time and seldom had there been a bigger interest for a national team game as this in Sweden. Lenny’s always in the knows so he made sure he got some tickets. He’s a generous deer so he made sure to bring some of his players to witness the game from the best place in the world, from inside the arena.
The players enjoyed a stay in a 4* hotel close to the arena, a nice dinner and prime seats to watch the game between Sweden and Italy.
The atmosphere in the arena was out of this world and even though the Italian squad are seasoned veterans, they must’ve felt the pressure.
Gian Piero Ventura’s players had a tough time getting creative when the Swedish players tackled them intensely and sometimes almost levelled them. The game was nil-nil until the 61st minute when the substitute Jakob Johansson got a shot deflected by Daniele De Rossi that completely fooled Gianluigi Buffon in goal. It was even more impressive as it might have been Jakob’s first touch as he just got into the game in the 57th minute. The game ended 1-0 to Sweden and they got the game right where they wanted it.
The San Siro decider
Italy was pressured. The country that has qualified for 16 consecutive world cups were 90 minutes away from missing out on a 17th straight world cup. But Italy has this power and they usually make it through, despite the performance. The Italian media can be rough and Gian Piero Ventura surely must’ve felt it.
The parked bus
The game at San Siro started with Italy having most of the possession and the referee in the game was Antonio Mateu Lahoz. He had a busy day as there were three penalty situations just in the first half that he could’ve blown for. But he chose not too, and that might have been good for the game. Sweden parked the bus and the two central defenders Andreas Granqvist and Victor Lindelof were heading away any attempts coming from the Italians. Ciro Immobile was a constant threat to the Swedish defence but he failed to score on any of his chances. The game ended 0-0 and Sweden managed to qualify for it’s first World Cup since ’06. The year that Italy won the World Cup. After the game, both Gianluigi Buffon and Daniele De Rossi chose to retire from Gli Azzurri.
The Road to Russia
Thousands of Swedish fans are expected to travel to Russia to cheer for Sweden. The group stage draw will commence on the 1st of December.
There will be 4 seeded groups with eight teams in each. One team will be drawn from each group creating a group for the World Cup 2018.
For the first time, the seeds will be based on the official FIFA ranking that the nations had in October 2017.