Italy vs Sweden

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Italy vs Sweden Live

When: Monday at 2:45 p.m. ET
TV: FS1

Italy vs Sweden

Italy’s World Cup life is on the line when it hosts Sweden on Sunday at the San Siro for their playoff second leg. The Swedish won the first leg 1-0 on Friday and could be on the verge of eliminating one of the most successful nations in cup history, as Italy has been to every World Cup since 1962.

It is the creative midfield role that will be coach Gian Piero Ventura’s biggest headache as he ponders what changes to make for the second leg in Milan on Monday evening.

Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti is suspended after picking up a second booking in Solna. Jorginho has been in excellent form for Napoli this season and seems the most natural replacement, but has never played for Italy before.

It would end a 60 year spell at the top of international football, leading to a wave of panic and “high tension” across the country.

“I wouldn’t watch a World Cup without Italy,” said former striker Fabrizio Ravanelli, who played a part in Italy’s only previous World Cup play-off back in 1997.

Ravanelli added: “Our players have to be aware that Italy’s failure to qualify for the World Cup in Russia would be a catastrophe.

“I don’t even want to think about it. Winning is important not only for the players, but for the whole country.”

In the last 40 years alone, Italy have lifted the trophy twice (1982 and 2006) and reached the final four a further three times (1978, 1990, 1994).

Yet it was a “shameful” loss back in 1958 that Italy risk eclipsing if they cannot overcome Sweden at the San Siro.

“It was shameful,” said 84-year-old ex-Italy striker Gino Pivatelli, speaking of Italy’s qualifying loss to Northern Ireland 60 years ago.

“Afterwards I cried all night – for the lost opportunity and very much for shame. I missed a chance because I slipped close to the goal because I had the wrong studs on.