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Sweden delight at amazing night against Italy

Håkan Ericson paid tribute to a special group of Sweden players, Oscar Lewicki praised the hoardes of travelling fans and after losing 2-1, Italy reflected on not killing off the game.

2015 highlights: Italy 1-2 Sweden

Håkan Ericson, Sweden coach
This is an amazing, amazing, amazing group of players. We've been down three times in seven months and each time we have ended up celebrating. We did it against France [in the play-offs], we did it against Turkey [in the final group game] and now against Italy; I'm very proud.

The players showed how they could handle the tactical instructions. We decided to preserve the situation [after Alexander Milošević's 38th-minute red card] until half-time and then we decided to go for it. We went back to two forwards and three central midfielders. This was a different way to work but we fixed things. I tried to give energy to the players as that's my way to coach. It was fantastic for us to have so many fans in the stands a day before a great [Midsummer] celebration day in Sweden and that helped us a lot.

Oscar Lewicki, Sweden midfielder and man of the match
It's amazing, I don't know what to say. We had some incredible fans here today and we did it for them. The coach said at half-time that we would keep playing with two forwards and that worked well as [goalscorers] Isaac [Kiese Thelin] and John [Guidetti] are both very strong forwards. They worked hard and it was up to the rest of us to keep a clean sheet from then, and Italy didn't create much in the second half. It was a great corner by [Abdullah] Khalili. He found me at the far post and it wasn't right to shoot so I decided to take a touch and put it in and as always John was in the right place in the box.

It was an incredible feeling when we scored the penalty, amazing. I didn't think at half-time that we'd win 2-1 but you never stop hoping. I don't know how many fans were here and it’s amazing that we get this type of support in the Czech Republic. The fans are very loyal to the national team.

Watch highlights

Luigi Di Biagio, Italy coach
I think that we failed to kill off the game when we had the chance, and later it turned on its head and it finished the way it did. We should have been more clinical in the last 30 metres of the pitch.

We agreed that we shouldn't be so open in the second half, and that we should try to score a second goal. We were in the game at 1-1, and even if we probably weren't playing well we were still the team playing with conviction and trying to win it.

We shouldn't have lowered the rhythm and intensity; that was something to avoid. We also had to be more clinical and confident in attack; we usually do better. [Domenico] Berardi played well, especially in the first half, and [Andrea] Belotti did a tremendous job in attack. We need to improve our game management and find the net when we have a chance to close off a game. Sweden won, because they are very good. They didn't give up, and that changed the match.

Matteo Bianchetti, Italy captain
We didn't have the right mentality or the right determination, especially when we took the lead and they were reduced to ten men. We lowered the intensity and they punished us.

I'm disappointed because we can do more. We haven't lost the chance to qualify but it means we have to win the next two matches. We played well in the first half so not everything is bad.

From tomorrow we forget Sweden and we start to focus on Portugal; we look forward to facing them and proving that we're a different team as we still want to go far.