Italy transform tactics with Sweden

With Marco Verratti suspended, Italy could go 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1 in the second leg of the World Cup play-off against Sweden.

It kicks off at San Siro on Monday at 19.45 GMT, following the 1-0 Swedish victory in Solna, decided by a deflected Jakob Johanssen effort.

Verratti was booked and will sit out a ban, while Simone Zaza and Leonardo Spinazzola are still not fully fit.

Leonardo Bonucci was diagnosed with a micro-fracture of the nose, but can play on with a protective mask.

The natural replacement for the Paris Saint-Germain star is Jorginho, but Coach Giampiero Ventura is no fan of the 4-3-3 formation.

As the 3-5-2 was a flop in Sweden, it’s rumoured the next step in the development of the Azzurri will be an old-fashioned 4-4-2.

This would keep many elements from Ventura’s favoured 4-2-4 system, but with Lorenzo Insigne and Antonio Candreva made to cover more defensive work.

Another alternative suggested is the 4-2-3-1 currently used to good effect by Luciano Spalletti at Inter and Max Allegri for Juventus.

This would bring in Roma forward Stephan El Shaarawy on the left flank, with Insigne moved to a central, but still more attack-minded, role.

In that case, Inter’s Roberto Gagliardini would come in to the midfield and is already accustomed to the system, including link-ups with Antonio Candreva down the right.

The centre-forward would be either Andrea Belotti or, more likely, Lazio hitman Ciro Immobile.

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