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Euro 2016: Italy book Last 16 berth with hard earned win against Sweden

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chieliniAn 88th minute goal from Brazilian-born Italian forward Eder helped Italy edge out Sweden 1-0 in a rather dull Group E encounter at the Stadium de Toulouse on Friday afternoon.

Eder struck the winner for the four-time World Cup Champions in the closing stages of a poor contest between two evenly matched teams.

Italy are now virtually assured of a place in the Round of 16 of Euro 2016. The 'Azzurri' are on top of Group E with six points from two matches. They had beaten World No.2 Belgium - the highest ranked team in the tournament - 2-0 in the first match of their campaign.

Sweden meanwhile are tottering on the brink of elimination with just one point from two matches, having eked out an unconvincing 1-1 draw with Ireland earlier. They will need a win over bottom-placed Belgium in their last group match to be in with a chance to enter the knockout phase. Belgium are yet to play Ireland and that could significantly make matters harder for Sweden.

In one of the few rare dull matches of the tournament so far, neither side created many goal scoring chances, though Italy did hit the woodwork once in the second half.

It required a moment of magic to break the deadlock and it took Italy's Brazilian born striker Eder to provide one. Receiving a long throw in from the left touchline from Giorgio Chiellini, Simone Zaza headed the ball into the path of Eder at the edge of the Sweden penalty box.

The Italian forward danced past the Sweden defence before bulging the back of the net with an excellent finish. The Swedes laid siege to the Italian penalty box in frantic search of an equaliser, but were not able to pierce the Italian defensive wall.