Euro 2016 round up: Italy 1 Sweden 0 - and what the result means

 Italy's Eder (centre) celebrates scoring the winning goal.
Italy's Eder (centre) celebrates scoring the winning goal.PHOTO: EPA

It was billed as the collective spirit of Italy against the individual brilliance of Sweden star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

For 88 minutes, the battle was fought to a dull standstill, as both sides struggled to break through each other's obdurate defence. Chances were few and far between.

Then out of nowhere came a moment of pure magic from the Italians. A throw-in by Giorgio Chiellini was headed down by substitute Simone Zaza into the path of Eder. The striker glided through at least four Swedish defenders before unleashing an unstoppable shot past goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson.

Ironically, it was individual brilliance which won the day for Italy, who become the second side after hosts France to confirm their place in the last 16.

Meanwhile, Sweden will probably have to beat Belgium in their last Group E game to stand any chance of advancing to the next stage, and prolong Ibrahimovic's international career.

Match highlights

-Gianluigi Buffon called upon to catch a goal-bound effort from Kim Kallstrom, following a fine Sweden build-up in the 18th minute.

- Zlatan Ibrahimovic, off balance, nodded wide at the far post after meeting Kallstrom's corner in the 43rd minute.


- Ibrahimovic as he skied his attempt in front of an open goal in the 72nd minute, but it would not have counted as the assistant referee flagged for offside.

- Emanuele Giaccherini, loitering just outside the box on the left, curled in a beautiful ball to the far post in the 82nd minute, and Marco Parolo planted a close-range header against the top of the bar.

- At last Italy made the breakthrough in the 88th minute. Giorgio Chiellini took a quick throw near the halfway line, launching it long to Simone Zaza who leapt majestically to guide an excellent header to Eder. The striker then glided through at least four Swedish defenders before unleashing an unstoppable drive for a superb goal.

The talking point

The key match-up of the game, Ibrahimovic against Italy hard man Chiellini, proved anti-climactic as the Swedish star struggled mightily against the defender whom he labelled the toughest to face against. Ibrahimovic was anonymous for much of the match, doing little to influence the game. He had one half-chance in the 72nd minute, but skied his attempt, not knowing that he would have been offside anyway. Chiellini also played a part in Italy's goal, as his quick throw-in set the wheels in motion for Eder's winner.

Man of the Match

Eder, for that magical glide across the Sweden defence for his brilliant goal.

What the result means

Italy are through to the last-16 of the tournament, joining France with two out of two wins in their group. Sweden, on the other hand, will probably need to beat Belgium to have a chance at advancing.

Key statistic

For the first time in their history, Italy did not concede a single shot on target in a European Championship game.

What they said

Eder, match-winner for Italy: "I'm delighted first and foremost for all of my team-mates, considering how hard we've worked. When one works so hard, the joys always arrive.There's no such thing as an easy game anymore. We knew it was going to be hard. Details make the difference in football and even throw-ins matter, and these are things we have been working on."