IT'S difficult to imagine a World Cup without Italy but that's the prospect we face unless they can turn it round against Sweden tonight.

The Italians are 19-20 with Betway to qualify after losing the first leg 1-0 in Stockholm.

They haven't missed a finals since 1958 and I expect them to rise to the occasion and show their quality.

It's unlikely to be nerve free though as the Swedes are a decent side with goals in them and if they net the Italians will need three.

Extra time is a possibility and the only result that forces that is 1-0 Italy at 41-10 with Unibet.

Sweden are 6-5 at Betfred to net in 90 minutes and evens at bet365 to make it to Russia.

The crucial stat for me is Italy are unbeaten in 44 matches at home and while the Swedes outscored France in the qualifiers they lost in Paris as well as Bulgaria and Holland.

Italy looked the better side in the first leg and have class acts such as Ciro Immobile and Lorenzo Insigne but will be without Marco Verrati who is suspended. The Swedes welcome back Celtic right-back Mikael Lustig who was banned in the first leg.

I believe Italy will get there and best bet could be Italy -1AH as they'll need to win by at least two unless it's 1-0.

If Insigne starts I'd back him at 6-1 to score first but let's see teams before deciding as there's talk Manolo Gabbiadini will get the nod.

Recommended Bets

  • Italy to qualify
  • Italy -1AH

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