Europe

Italy beats Sweden 1-0 in friendly

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CESENA, Italy (AP)

Italy beat Sweden 1-0 in a friendly Wednesday featuring experimental teams on both sides. One of the few normal starters for Italy, Giorgio Chiellini, put the hosts ahead in the 28th minute. The Juventus defender headed in at the far post following a corner. Italy coach Marcello Lippi sent home Gianluigi Buffon, Fabio Cannavaro, Gianluca Zambrotta and Andrea Pirlo after Saturday's 0-0 draw with the Netherlands. Sweden was without forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is taking a break from the national team. The game marked the debut of Sweden coach Erik Hamren. He was hired two weeks ago to replace Lars Lagerback, who resigned last month after Sweden failed to qualify for the World Cup. Hamren tested out several players from Sweden's under-21 side, while Italy's starting lineup didn't include any players from the side that won the World Cup in Germany three years ago. "It was a satisfying game," Lippi said. "Even though it was a completely new squad, the changes didn't phase the team. They showed a lot of enthusiasm." Italy goalkeeper Federico Marchetti was tested immediately when Tobias Hysen got behind the defense in the second minute. Marchetti held his ground and deflected a shot from the Sweden center forward. Former Juventus defender Olof Mellberg had another chance for Sweden a minute later, with Marchetti again making the save. Italy took time to gather itself and didn't threaten until the ninth minute, when Chiellini's header was deflected over the bar by goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson. Davide Biondini missed wide off the rebound of a shot from Antonio Di Natale in the 20th, and a long, angled shot from Sweden's Johan Elmander just missed the target a couple minutes later. Both sides used all six of their substitutions in the second half, and the performance level dropped significantly. One substitute, Giuseppe Rossi, had a chance in the 58th on a counterattack for Italy but his long lob shot was off target. Another second-half replacement, midfielder Daniele Galloppa, shot over from a free kick in the 81st. Isaksson came out of his goal and down to the other end for a corner just before the final whistle and headed high.
Lineups: Italy: Federico Marchetti, Christian Maggio (Mattia Cassani, 46), Nicola Legrottaglie, Giorgio Chiellini, Domenico Criscito (Salvatore Bocchetti, 55), Antonio Candreva (Giuseppe Rossi, 46), Riccardo Montolivo (Angelo Palombo, 66), Davide Biondini (Daniele Galloppa, 46), Marco Marchionni (Mauro Camoranesi, 77), Giampaolo Pazzini, Antonio Di Natale. Sweden: Andreas Isaksson, Mikael Lustig (Pontus Wernbloom, 73), Olof Mellberg, Daniel Majstorovic, Mikael Dorsin (Oscar Wendt, 59), Viktor Elm (Pontus Wernbloom, 46), Anders Svensson, Sebastian Larsson, Johan Elmander (Markus Rosenberg, 79), Behrang Safari (Dusan Djuric, 59), Tobias Hysen (Ola Toivonen, 73).

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