Friendly round-up: Disappointing start to build-up campaign for Italy and Sweden

Republic of Ireland Euro 2016 opponents Sweden and Italy began their build-up to this summer’s tournament with disappointing results on a busy night of international friendlies.

Friendly round-up: Disappointing start to build-up campaign for Italy and Sweden

Erik Hamren took his Swedish side to Antalya for a midweek friendly with Turkey minus the talents of star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Sweden’s manager deployed Marcus Berg and John Guidetti up front in Ibrahimovic’s absence but it was the hosts who struck first, Besiktas’s Cenuk Tosun finding the net to hand Turkey a 1-0 interval lead.

Andreas Granqvist equalised with 16 minutes to go and a draw looked likely until Cenuk Tosun popped up to net his second of the evening and secured a 2-1 victory for the Turks.

Next up for the Swedes is another home friendly on Tuesday night against a Czech Republic side that lost 1-0 to Scotland.

Stadio Friuli in Udine played host to Italy’s glamour friendly with reigning European Champions Spain.

Outgoing Italian manager Antonio Conte deployed an experimental 3-4-3 formation due to the absence of many first team regulars including Marco Verratti, Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli and Claudio Marchisio.

Spearheaded by Southampton’s Graziano Pelle, the Azzuri enjoyed the better of the opening half but failed to find a way past David De Gea.

An evenly-fought encounter finally sprung to life after 67 minutes when Lorenzo Insigne opened the scoring for Italy.

Spain levelled within six minutes however, as 35-year-old Athletic Bilbao striker Aritz Aduriz found the net to setup an exciting finale.

Neither side was able to conjure up a winner and it ended 1-1 ahead of Italy’s trip to the Allianz Arena for another tough friendly against Joachim Loew’s Germany next Tuesday evening.

Iceland began preparations for their first ever appearance at a major football tournament with a 2-1 defeat away to Denmark.

Drawn against Austria, Hungary and Portugal in the opening phase of this year’s European Championships, Iceland fell victim to two goals in four minutes with Nicolai Jorgensen bagging a brace to cement the Danes’ win. Norrkoping’s Arnor Ingvi Traustason gave the visitors hope with a late goal but it proved a mere consolation strike.

Ukraine got their Euro 2016 build-up off to a positive start courtesy of a narrow 1-0 victory at home to Cyprus. Mykhaylo Fomenko’s side required a solitary Taras Stepanenko effort to see off the Cypriots at the Chornomorets Stadium but Ukraine will expect for a much improved performance against Wales on Monday.

Georgios Tzavellas and Nikos Karelis scored in Greece’s 2-1 victory at home to Montenegro with Zarko Tomasevic netting for the visitors.

Elsewhere, goals were harder to come by in last night’s other friendly internationals with Moldova held to a 0-0 draw in Malta and Norway’s trip to Tallinn resulting in a scoreless stalemate with Estonia.

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