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Italy seek Sweden inspiration

Sweden and Italy go into their last UEFA Women's EURO 2013 Group A in Halmstad on Tuesday knowing a draw would take both teams through after their Saturday wins.

Goalmouth action from the 2009 group stage encounter
Goalmouth action from the 2009 group stage encounter ©UEFA.com

Sweden and Italy are both in strong positions as they meet in their last Group A game.

• Sweden opened with a 1-1 draw against Denmark in Gothenburg, where they stayed to secure a 5-0 defeat of Finland that equalled the finals record win.

• Having drawn 0-0 against Finland here in Halmstad, Italy then overcame Denmark 2-1. The Denmark goal on 65 minutes was the first Italy had conceded in the competition, including qualifying, after 11 straight clean sheers.

• Both teams will be through with a draw, Sweden topping the group on goal difference.

• Sweden can only be knocked out if they lose and Denmark beat Finland by enough to take second on goal difference or goals scored (if both finish level, Sweden will be second due to their coefficient).

• Italy can only be knocked out if they lose and Finland beat Denmark by enough to take second on goal difference or goals scored (if both finish level, Italy will be second due to their coefficient).

• In either case, Sweden or Italy could still progress if they finish as one of the two best third-placed teams.

• The group winners stay in Halmstad to meet the third-placed team in either Group B or C on Sunday. The runners-up face the Group B runners-up the same day in Vaxjo, with the winners of those two quarter-finals then matched in Gothenburg next Wednesday.

• If the third-placed team from Group A advance, they will play the Group C winners in Linkoping on Monday. That would then lead to next Thursday's Norrkoping semi-final against the winners of Group B or the Group C runners-up.

Head-to-head record
• Sweden have won 12 of their 17 games against Italy, who have just two victories with three matches drawn. Sweden have scored 33 goals to their opponents' nine.

• Their first three meetings were all in this competition. In the inaugural 1984 semi-finals they played over two legs, Sweden winning 3-2 in Rome and 2-1 in Linkoping on their way to the title. Sundhage made it 2-2 in the first leg and struck twice in the home return.

• Five years later Sweden beat Italy 2-1 after extra time to claim third place in Germany with Sundhage scoring their first, equalising, goal.

• There was better luck for Italy in the two-legged 1991 quarter-finals as they progressed on away goals after drawing 1-1 in Malmo and 0-0 in Castellamare Di Stabia.

• Italy finally beat Sweden over 90 minutes in their seventh encounter, 1-0 in a friendly in Saraari on 8 May 1993.

• They met in UEFA Women's EURO 2005 qualifying, Sweden winning the home game at the old Råsunda Stadium 5-0. With Sweden already assured of qualification they lost 2-1 in Italy, Patrizia Panico getting the winner in Benevento. Italy finished second above Finland, although both joined Sweden in the finals via the play-offs.

• They were again drawn together in 2009 qualifying. Sweden won 2-0 away in Trento through Caroline Seger and Nilla Fischer and (having won an Algarve Cup encounter 3-0 in between) prevailed 1-0 at home in Orebro thanks to Jessica Landström's last-minute strike. The six points dropped by Italy were the only lost by either side in that group, the Azzurre again making the finals through the play-offs.

Selected previous meeting
28 August 2009: Italy 0-2 Sweden (Schelin 9, Asllani 19) - Veritas Stadium, Turku, UEFA Women's EURO group stage
Picarelli, Gama, D'Adda, Tuttino, Tona, Schiavi, Domenichetti, Gabbiadini (Fuselli 69), Panico, Zorri (Parisi 75), Pini.
Lindahl, Rohlin, Segerström, Paulson, Seger, Thuebro, Schelin, Asllani (Liljegard 79), Sandell Svensson, Sjögran (Fors 89), Dahlqvist (Fischer 66).

• Having met in qualifying they were drawn together in Group C in Finland. Both had won their opening games and Sweden made the most of early goals to book a quarter-final place with a match to spare. Italy were to join them, finishing second after beating Russia, but both sides were eliminated in the last eight.

• The teams played in the 2003 UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship in Germany, drawing 3-3. As the teams were level for second place in the group they went to penalties, Sweden prevailing 4-1.

• Italy fielded Giorgia Motta, Elisabetta Tona, Giulia Domenichetti, Raffaella Manieri and Elisa Camporese and Sweden had Caroline Seger and goalscorer Nilla Fischer. Domenichetti's added-time equaliser forced penalties, the first time a group stage shoot-out was needed. Fischer converted, Manieri missed.

• In the 2003/04 second qualifying round Seger and Lisa Dahlqvist helped Sweden win 1-0 against Manieri's Italy.

• An Italy team containing Sara Gama and Alice Parisi beat a Sweden side boasting Kosovare Asllani and Sofia Jakobsson 4-0 in the 2008 U19 semi-finals. Parisi converted a penalty, as she did in the 1-0 final defeat of Norway.

Form guide
• Italy kept up their fine run from 2011 World Cup qualifying in reaching these finals. They clinched first place in Group 1 ahead of Russia with two games left and won nine of their fixtures before a 0-0 draw in Greece in their last match. They scored 35 goals without conceding.

• A month prior to clinching qualification, coach Pietro Ghedin left to take over the Malta men's team and was succeeded by 1982 FIFA World Cup winner Antonio Cabrini.

• Italy have never failed to make the last eight of a Women's EURO and were runners-up in 1993 and 1997.

• This could be Panico's fifth UEFA Women's EURO final tournament having played at 1997, 2001, 2005 (the only one in which she did not score) and 2009.

• Sweden qualified automatically as hosts and have played at both major final tournaments since UEFA Women's EURO 2009. They finished third at the 2011 World Cup, earning a place at the 2012 Olympics.

• That proved less of a success as Sweden lost 2-1 in the quarter-finals to France, who they had beaten to World Cup bronze.

• Sundhage led the United States to gold in London before leaving in September 2012 to replace Thomas Dennerby as coach of Sweden.

• In a 21-year international playing career, Sundhage was part of the Sweden team that won the inaugural 1984 UEFA competition, still their only major honour. In the final against England she scored the only goal of the home leg in Gothenburg and although England won the return 1-0 six days later, Sundhage converted the winning penalty in the shoot-out.

• Sweden have lost in three other Women's EURO finals, each time to hosts:  Norway in 1987 and Germany in 1995 and 2001. Norway beat them in the 2005 semi-finals and 2009 quarter-finals.

Team ties
• Sundhage played for S.S. Lazio in 1985, scoring 17 goals alongside future Italy coach Carolina Morace as they came second in Serie A.

• Cabrini faced Sweden in 1984 UEFA European Championship qualifying, FIFA World Cup holders Italy losing 2-0 away and 3-0 at home. It was the only unsuccessful qualifying campaign he was involved in out of six.

• Cabrini headed the only goal on two minutes as Italy beat Sweden 1-0 in a Milan friendly on 26 September 1984.

• Swedish clubs have a similar dominance over Italian sides as their national team. In 2008/09 Lisa Dahlkvist's Umeå IK were 4-0 winners against ASD CF Verona, who included Anna Maria Picarelli, Roberta D'Adda, Panico, Valentina Boni, Parisi, Cristiana Girelli, Viviana Schiavi, Alessia Tuttino, Giorgia Motta and substitute Melania Gabbiadini, in the UEFA Women's Cup second qualifying round, though both went through.

• FC Malmö have seen off Italian opposition in the last two UEFA Women's Champions Leagues. In the 2011/12 round of 32 they lost the first leg 2-1 at UPC Tavagnacco, Camporese making it 2-0 before Fischer's late goal. However Malmö won the return 5-0. Fischer was joined by Therese Sjögran and Seger in the Malmö side while Tavagnacco fielded Parisi and Tuttino as well as Camporese.

• Then in the 2012/13 round of 16, Malmö beat Verona 1-0 at home and 2-0 away. Verona boasted Tatiana Zorri, Girelli, Gabbiadini and Carolina Pini.

• Panico spent part of 2010 with Sky Blue FC in the United States. On 11 July that year her side lost 2-0 to Kosovare Asllani's Chicago Red Stars; two weeks later, Seger's Philadelphia Independence beat Sky Blue 4-1.

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