Italy's Andrea Pirlo is seen during an international friendly soccer match against Portugal in Geneva, Switzerland, June 16, 2015 - Reuters/Pierre Albouy
CAIRO –11 November 2017: Former Italian player Andrea Pirlo became one of the critics after Sweden defeated Italy 1-0 on Friday.
Tuttosport said, “Enough excuses, now we have to avoid a historic embarrassment.” Gazette dello Sport described Italy’s performance in Sweden as “Poor and confused.”
"Italy looked like a scared team that was playing for a 0-0 draw. In Europe, that is not enough," Pirlo told Sky Sport Italia.
"It's a red herring," he said. "Playing in Europe is not like in Italy, where you get a free kick for even the slightest contact.”
"In these matches you need to be above all that and give 100 percent; it's in these matches that you see the real players," he stated.
"It will be tough for Ventura to find the right words to say to the group," added Pirlo.
"There will be two very intense days, full of pressure, and the coach must have in mind the line-up that he is going to field," he continued.
"San Siro will make its presence felt, but I've never seen a goal scored from the stands," he said.
Italy’s last failure to qualify for the finals was in 1958. Italy has to win over Sweden by two goals in the second leg on Monday to qualify to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
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