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Asllani a doubt as Sweden gear up for Italy

Pia Sundhage is waiting on the fitness of Kosovare Asllani for Tuesday's clash with Italy, a side she rates technically. Antonio Cabrini expects tactics to play a big part.

Kosovare Asllani is an injury concern for Sweden ahead of their final Group A encounter with Italy
Kosovare Asllani is an injury concern for Sweden ahead of their final Group A encounter with Italy ©Getty Images

Sweden's preparations have been disrupted by concerns over the fitness of Kosovare Asllani, who twisted her ankle against Finland. Pia Sundhage, who is also without Sofia Jakobsson, says it would not be fair on the rest of her team to select a player who was only 75 per cent fit and she also has in mind the striker's availability further into the tournament.  

Italy coach Antonio Cabrini expects a tactical battle and while he admires the Swedish players, he insists: "We are not scared of anyone."

• 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.

Pia Sundhage, Sweden coach
We won't play a 75 per cent fit 'Kosse' at any cost because we can't only look at the Italy game but at the match after that. I really want to show respect to the team by making sure that the player we select is fit. If she is, then she’ll play. Next question is if she should play 90 minutes. She’s already played a lot and in my mind we’ve got several matches ahead. That’s in my thoughts before picking a starting eleven.

On the positive side there are players who can step in. If she can’t play we will either find a player with similar skills, a technical player so we can keep the same style or we’ll do the opposite and have two fast players up top.

Italy are a technical team. They play short passes and through the midfield. They have a couple of very good players. [Patrizia] Panico has been around for a long time and she reminds me of [Carolina] Morace actually. A crafty player who scores goals. What we need to do is keep our focus.

I remember the attacking football [from her time in Italy]. How the coach put us through shooting drills from every possible angle. Training was so different from what I was used to. I learned to respect that there are more ways of training, of coaching and of playing. I grew as a player. Italians like Morace taught me that as a forward I didn’t need to work so hard all the time, I needed to be smarter than the opponent. Morace always was.

Matchday one result
 Sweden 1-1 Denmark (Fischer 35; Knudsen 26)

Matchday two result 
Finland 0-5 Sweden (Fischer 15 36, Asllani 38, Schelin 60 87)

K Hammarström; L Nilsson, Rohlin, Fischer, Thunebro; Öqvist (Göransson 67), Seger, M Hammarström (Dahlkvist 57), Jakobsson; Schelin, Asllani (Hjohlman 72).

• Player of the match: Nilla Fischer

• Fischer's two goals made her the first to three in the finals.

• On a booking: none

Team news
Sofia Jakobsson is definitely ruled out after the forward suffered slight concussion against Finland. She is likely to be available again for a possible quarter-final tie. Kosovare Asllani went off with a minor ankle twist and is rated 50/50 for the game, though is certain to be back for the quarter-finals assuming Sweden make it.

Antonio Cabrini, Italy coach
We’ve known Sweden for a long time. They're physically a strong side and they also have some great individual players. What we’ve got to do is carry on from where we left off after Finland, knowing that we are not scared of anybody. We respect our opponents but certainly they have to respect us as well.

We expect a very tactical game because both us and Sweden know the points tally and what’s needed to get the first objective. Neither side will want to lose: the first objective for both of us is to get through the group stage.

Matchday one result
Italy 0-0 Finland

Matchday two result
Italy 2-1 Denmark (Gabbiadini 55, Mauro 60; Brogaard 66)
Marchitelli; D'Adda, Tuttino, Gabbiadini, Panico, Parisi, Iannella, Bartoli, Stracchi, Manieri, Salvai.

• Player of the match: Melania Gabbiadini

• Italy conceded their first goal of the UEFA Women's EURO 2013 campaign following ten qualifying clean sheets and the shut-out against Finland.

• On a booking: Elisa Camporese, Alessia Tuttino, Elisa Bartoli, Raffaella Manieri

Team news
Elisa Camporese misses out on the starting line-up for the second successive game as she continues to be plagued by the hamstring problem that forced her off after 70 minutes against Finland.

Laura Neboli is also out with a twisted ankle though she might possibly be back for the quarter-final should Italy qualify.

Match fact
Sweden beat Italy three times in their 2009 campaign; 2-0 away and 1-0 at home in qualifying then 2-0 in their second group stage game in Finland.

Did you know?
If Italy go through they will keep up their record of always making the last eight in a UEFA Women's EURO.

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