Ven­tura rally call with Italy on brink

Evening Times - - SPORT - By HUGO LOPEZ

ITALY boss Gian Piero Ven­tura has spo­ken about the need for “heart and de­ter­mi­na­tion” as his side pre­pare to host Swe­den in tonight’s World Cup qual­i­fy­ing play-off sec­ond leg.

The Ital­ians are in dan­ger of miss­ing out on the fi­nals for the first time since 1958, hav­ing lost leg one 1-0 in Stock­holm on Fri­day.

Ven­tura said at a press con­fer­ence ahead of the re­turn meet­ing at Mi­lan’s San Siro sta­dium: “We an­a­lysed Fri­day’s match, re­al­is­ing what we did and that we can do a lot more.

“Tac­tics are im­por­tant but on their own they’re not enough, just how heart and de­ter­mi­na­tion aren’t enough on their own. To­gether, the three things guar­an­tee suc­cess.”

Swe­den were no­tably phys­i­cal in the first leg but only one of their team was booked, with no fresh sus­pen­sions be­ing ac­ti­vated for the Mi­lan match, while Italy’s Marco Ver­ratti picked up a yel­low card that means he will miss out on to­day.

Af­ter that game Ven­tura ex­pressed un­hap­pi­ness at the way it had been of­fi­ci­ated, say­ing he had wanted “a more even-handed ap­proach” and hoped “in Mi­lan they give to us what they granted to them here.”

The 69-year-old added: “The match could have been been ref­er­eed in a more cor­rect way.

“Cer­tainly, when some­one plays with a bro­ken nose [Leonardo Bonucci] there’s some dis­con­tent. But, we’re Italy and if we go through we’ll have to do it by play­ing foot­ball.”

Mean­while, op­po­site num­ber Janne An­der­s­son has em­pha­sised the im­por­tance of the on-pitch “duels” as Swe­den look to reach their first World Cup fi­nals since 2006.

“We have to dare when we have the ball, so you don’t get pas­sive and anx­ious,” An­der­s­son said. “And we have to take the duels. Each time you win one, you get the ball, usu­ally. If you lose the duel, the op­po­nent gets the ball.

“Take the duel ev­ery damn time.”

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