Italy spent much of this afternoon’s match down to ten men due to the first half dismissal of Mario Balotelli yet still ran out 2-1 victors. Goal.com looks individually at the game’s actors…
Dahlin 6.0: Couldn’t really be faulted for either of the goals and had very little else to do. Acted as a sweeper effectively at times, coming off his line quickly to mop up potentially dangerous situations.
Lustig 7.0: Had a hard time defensively in the first half, allowing Balotelli to step inside him to shoot home the opener. Was released to play what was effectively a wing-back role in the second period, finding great space to send in some dangerous crosses.
Bjarsmyr 6.0: Sweden’s centre-backs never looked particularly comfortable when Italy got at them, which, thankfully for the hosts, wasn’t that often. He had an easy second half, starting the move that ultimately led to Sweden’s consolation.
Bengtsson 5.5: The fingers seemed to be pointed at him when it came to the second goal. He seemed to lose Acquafresca too easily, something that was too common an occurrence at the heart of the Swedish defence all afternoon. Marking lessons from Italy are required.
Johannsson 6.5: Failed to push on to the same extent as his defensive partner on the right, although this was perhaps a tactical ploy. Nevertheless, he was undone by Giovinco to concede the goal for Italy’s second.
Elm 7.5: A fairly consistent threat down the right hand side of the Swedish attack, where he was well supported by Lustig. Produced several telling crosses but also wasted good crossing opportunities at key times. Tremendous touch to release Toivonen for the consolation goal.
Svensson 6.5: The holding midfielder didn’t really have a whole lot of defensive work to do. Italy did briefly threaten to overrun the midfield for a spell in the first half, but on the whole he was not called to produce a great deal of the anchoring work he was on the park to do.
Wernbloom 7.0: A real nuisance in the centre of the field. Showed an appetite for a tough challenge and was the man responsible for winding Balotelli up sufficiently to be sent off.
Bajrami 6.5: Faded in and out of the game before being replaced by Olsson in the second half. Wrought havoc down the left hand side of the park for a lengthy period of the first 45 but couldn’t sustain such play.
Toivonen 7.0: Grabbed Sweden’s goal with a fine right-footed finish but surrendered possession cheaply at times. A number of half chances fell his way, with which he failed to hit the target.
Berg 7.0: After an explosive first game, Sweden had pinned their hopes on the Groningen striker to gun the Italians down. His build up play was to a higher standard than his strike partner, however, he was on the end of fewer chances, failing to get across his marker on too many occasions.
Harbuzi 6.5: Started promising, spreading the play well, but failed to live up to his early incisive passing.
Olsson 7.5: Really effective down the left in the final 25 minutes. Normally a left-back for club side Blackburn Rovers, Olsson looked an accomplished winger.
Consigli 7.5: Was never called into any serious action, however, he did what he had to do very well, relieving the pressure on his defence impressively at times with a couple of positive first half punches.
Motta 7.0: A terrific block on Bajrami in the first half prevented the Swede firing a dangerous effort at goal. Was given a difficult period by his opposing number in the latter part of the first half, but won his personal battle emphatically at the start of the second. Olsson’s presence caused him real issues, though.
Andreolli 8.0: The stand-out in a strong Italian rearguard. All you’d expect from an Italian centre-back, strong in the air and cunning on the ground. Made life really tough for Toivonen and Berg.
Bocchetti 6.5: A strange performance from the Genoa man, who started with a short pass-back and would make elementary errors in possession when given time with alarming frequency. His defending partially made up for it.
Criscito 6.0: A really difficult game for the left-back, who was left brutally exposed to the roaming Lustig in the second half, leaving him facing two Swedes on his own.
Marchisio 7.0: Disciplined would be the watchword of the Juventus midfielder’s performance. Was given little chance to express himself offensively but kept the shape of the team well and worked hard when they were reduced to ten men.
Cigarini 7.5: The most influential of the Italian midfielders, controlled the pace of the game at times in the first half and cleverly killed time when it was required in the second. Played a number of incisive passes.
De Ceglie 7.0: Employed on the left hand side of the central midfield three, the Juventus man was, like Marchisio, unable to express himself going forward too often, though a couple of dangerous first half crosses hinted at his potential.
Balotelli 5.5: The Inter prodigy showed the world his two faces this afternoon, scoring a wonderful opening goal for the young Italians. He quickly wiped out his good work with a silly kick at Wernbloom and was justly dismissed.
Acquafresca 7.5: When a striker has one chance in a game and scores one goal, no-one can complain. The Inter-owned star did not have things his own way by any means but scored a vital second goal for the Italians with a fine near post header.
Giovinco 8.5: One of Italy’s difference makers was indeed the man who separated the teams. Showed terrific feet to setup Balotelli for the first then showcased such talent again as he drew the foul for the second. A well flighted free kick from the ‘Atomic Ant’ was headed in by Acquafresca. Perhaps not involved quite enough, but the Italians won’t complain after two such telling, and brilliant, contributions.
Abate 6.5: Was asked to come on and do a thankless role down the right of midfield for the last half an hour as Giovinco was replaced.
Ranocchia 6.0: Broke up his share of play in the closing minutes of the game.
Dessena n/a: Was given a token minute on the park to kill time.