Sweden & Italy face off: only one can make it to Russia.
Sweden v Italy – Friday 19:45, Sky Sports Mix
Italy only find themselves in the play-offs by virtue of Spain’s brilliance, but they face a dangerous Sweden side that qualified ahead of the Netherlands and finished just four points off Euro 2016 finalists France. In the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, head coach Janne Andersson has been able to get his side playing as a team rather than just feeding their superstar the ball. The emergence of a strong spine saw them easily top score in Group A, netting 26 goals in 10 games and finishing with a superior goal difference to France.
Italy have long been masters of the classic 1-0 but with the likes of Insigne, Bernardeschi and Belotti emerging this is the most exciting Italian team in years and their away matches since the Euros have tended to produce goals with five out of six featuring at least three. Of these games, they only managed clean sheets against minnows Liechtenstein and Albania, conceding twice in Macedonia and three times in Madrid. However, the Italians did manage to net 13 goals across these six games, only drawing a blank against Spain, and so we think both teams to score represents good value.
In fact, we’d also back over 2.5 goals here too, with eight of Italy’s last nine on the road featuring at least three goals, and seven of these seeing four or more.
Ciro Immobile has been in phenomenal form for Lazio and is Serie A’s top scorer so far this term with 14 goals in just 11 games. These included braces on the road at Juve, Verona and Genoa, while he netted a hat-trick against Milan, and having scored the opener in four of these games, we’re backing him as first goalscorer here too.