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Past play-off defeat spurring Italy on

Published: Saturday 13 October 2012, 14.18CET
A member of the Italy squad which lost to Belarus in the play-offs two years ago, Luca Marrone is determined the same fate will not befall the Azzurrini again after their first-leg defeat of Sweden.
by Francesco Corda
from Adriatico Stadium
Published: Saturday 13 October 2012, 14.18CET

Past play-off defeat spurring Italy on

A member of the Italy squad which lost to Belarus in the play-offs two years ago, Luca Marrone is determined the same fate will not befall the Azzurrini again after their first-leg defeat of Sweden.

Luca Marrone is using the pain of Italy's UEFA European Under-21 Championship play-off loss to Belarus two years ago as the reason why the Azzurrini should not take a place in the finals for granted after their 1-0 first-leg victory against Sweden. 

Similarly, team-mate Luca Marrone wants Devis Mangia's side to press home the "good chance" they now have of qualifying, and though Sweden coach Hakan Ericson expressed his disappointment at defeat, he is pleased the tie is still alive going into the decider on Tuesday in Kalmar.

Luca Marrone, Italy midfielder
We weren't clinical in front of goal, but we created a lot of opportunities and that is the most important thing. In the second half, maybe we were a little tired. In the second leg they will be very aggressive. They will go on the attack and we hope to use the space they leave. I was in the squad when we were eliminated by Belarus [in 2010] after winning 2-0 in the first leg at home. It's a bad memory. It was a lesson and made us understand that no game should be taken for granted.

Lorenzo Insigne, Italy forward
It was a good game, and we fought hard from the start to the final whistle. We were leading but always tried to score another. We missed a few chances, but this must motivate us even more ahead of the return leg. We travel to Sweden to play our own game and win. In the second half we waited for them to come out and hit them on the counterattack − that's why the game didn't have the tempo of the first half. We have a good chance to reach the finals after this victory − we don't want to waste the work we started two years ago.

Hakan Ericson, Sweden coach
I'm satisfied with our performance. Of course, I'm disappointed because we didn't manage to earn at least a draw, but Italy are a good team and they have a couple of very good players in their squad. We played well defensively but weren't good enough in creating enough chances to score, often missing the final pass. However, our objective was to come here and keep the tie alive for the return leg at home and we managed to do it.

Jiloan Hamad, Sweden captain
Italy started very well but then we had chances later in the game and finished better than them. I'm satisfied with the result. Italy slowed down a bit after taking the lead, giving us more space to control the game. It's difficult to say what made the difference today. Italy are a strong team, but probably we had too much respect for them. We had space to hurt them, but we didn't use it as we should have done. We can do much better in Kalmar – we are strong at home. Italy are a very good team, but they didn't scare us today. Now we know them better and we will try to exploit their weaknesses. We have nothing to lose.

Last updated: 07/10/14 4.25CET

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