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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Late Di Piero Goal Puts Italy Past Struggling Sweden 2-1




EINDHOVEN, Netherlands -- A fine goal in the 88th minute from Alessandro Del Piero gave Italy a 2-1 win in its final Euro 2000 Group B match Monday.


The result meant Italy ended the group stage with three wins in its three games. The Italians will play the runner-up of Group A f either England, Romania or Germany f in the quarterfinals.


Sweden had needed a comfortable win to stand any chance of joining the Italians in the last eight.


Understandably the team attacked from the start.


Celtic's Johan Mjallby almost put the Swedes in front with a header from the first of 11 Swedish corners before the interval, but Angelo Di Livio cleared the ball off his goaline with his keeper Francesco Toldo stranded.


Magnus Svensson and Joachim Bjorklund also missed chances within the space of a couple of minutes midway through the half, while the Italians were restricted to just two strikes from Vincenzo Montella.


The little AS Roma striker squandered the first by hitting his close range shot straight at Swedish keeper Maguns Hedman after a run down the right, and lobbed the second over the goalkeeper onto the roof of the Swedish net.


But eight minutes later, Italy took the lead.


Del Piero swung his side's first corner of the match toward the front post and Di Biagio planted a firm header into the keeper's top right-hand corner.


The Swedes continued to press after the break, but their robust defending and neat midfield exchanges initially failed to reap them dividends.


Celtic's Henrik Larsson gave the Swedes hope of a victory with an excellent 77th minute equalizer.


But Del Piero struck the late winner, beating Hedman from 20 meters.