Lindelof hails Sweden's 'belief' in World Cup dream

Russia-bound Sweden "always believed" it would overcome Italy to seal a World Cup spot, according to Victor Lindelof.

Victor Lindelof hailed Sweden's team spirit after an inspiring 1-0 aggregate victory over Italy saw it qualify for the World Cup next year.   -  Getty Images

Manchester United defender Victor Lindelof says Sweden's unshakeable "belief" in its own ability was the key factor in Monday's stunning World Cup qualifying upset of Italy.

Sweden advanced to football's biggest stage for the first time since 2006 with a composed 0-0 draw at San Siro which completed a famous 1-0 aggregate victory in the play-offs.

Jakob Johansson's first leg goal proved the difference over 180 minutes as Lindelof stood tall to help shut out the highly-fancied Azzurri.

The 23-year-old, who has at times come under fire for his performances at club level this season, paid tribute to Sweden's togetherness.

Read: Sweden head-coach wants focus to be on World Cup heroes

"It is the first time I have qualified for a World Cup and I am so, so happy," Lindelof told reporters.

"We knew coming here would be difficult but following the first game at home we believed we could do it.

"We work very, very hard. I don't know how to describe this team, we work so hard for each other. We know what we can do.

"We always believed we would go to a World Cup and here we are."

Russia 2018 will be Sweden's 12th appearance at the tournament, having reached the Round of 16 in each of its past two efforts.

 

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