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Ibrahimovic believes Sweden are playing without pressure after his retirement

Ibrahimovic believes Sweden are playing without pressure after his retirement”

The 36-year-old represented his country at the 2002 and 2006 World Cups, as well as the 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016 European Championships. Twenty years after making his Italy debut on a snowy field in a World Cup playoff in Russian Federation, the Azzurri captain's worldwide future hinges on another playoff against Sweden.

"Sweden are playing without pressure, because since I left, nobody expects much of them now, from the media to the fans", Zlatan Ibrahimovic said in a statement.

'Difficult for both teams, which obviously have a great desire to go to the World Cup.

When asked about who is the Ibra of Italy, in terms of important, Zlatan said: "In my opinion Ibrahimovic of Italy, the player we must fear more, is Marco Verratti, who without a doubt is the strongest player in Italy".

The Azzurri are facing the prospect of missing out on the summer showpiece for the first time since 1958, while Sweden could suffer the ignominy of failing to qualify for their third consecutive finals.

Sweden host Italy in Solna on Friday before the teams meet in the return at the San Siro on Monday.

But Ibrahimovic said: "The truth is that we played a normal game and it just ended 2-2".

"The World Cup is a something that nobody wants to miss". "We have to win this game". De Rossi added that an Ibrahimovic-less side is a pure advantage Italy but one should never underestimate them.

"I'm happy to avoid him in a game like this", Juventus defender Chiellini told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "It's going to be 50-50".

They have not needed to qualify for the World Cup through the playoff since 1998, when they defeated Russian Federation 2-1 on aggregate.

"If it were just about treating the match like a battle, anyone could play in Serie A and the national team".



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