Watch: Gloriously Grim Goal Gives Sweden Massive World Cup Boost Vs Italy

Watch: Gloriously Grim Goal Gives Sweden Massive World Cup Boost Vs Italy

When the draw for the 2018 World Cup playoffs were made, most Irish fans would have released a big sigh of relief when they were drawn out of the pot to play Sweden.

Along with Croatia, the Italians were seen as the toughest opponent Ireland could face - despite the fact that Martin O'Neill's men claimed a massive three points over a weakened Azzurri side in Lille last summer.

The Swedes would have fancied their chances against Italy on Friday night, hoping to achieve a result that would allow them to prepare for the return leg with something to defend, and sure enough they managed to secure a vital 1-0 win which crucially denied their opponents an away goal.

When Sweden took the lead, it was via a deflected shot from substitute Jakob Johansson after a long throw-in, the type of goal that Ireland would be proud of, and would have felt sickening for the Italians to concede.


Gutted for Gigi Buffon, nothing he could do about it.

If Sweden do manage to navigate the second leg and reach Russia, there will be a lot of unhappy football fans around the world as they would have denied Buffon a World Cup swansong in doing so, but that is a massive result for Janne Andersson and his players.

It does, of course, also set up a cracking second leg which should make for a great watch for neutrals everywhere on Monday night.

Mikey Traynor

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