Éder Martins has expressed delight at being able to help his side Italy secure a quarter final ticket after scoring his first goal of the Euro 2016 championship.
Éder’s tremendous solo effort with two minutes to go secured Italy a 1-0 win over Sweden in a round of 16 slot on the back of a second Group E win.
Speaking to UEFA.com after the encounter, Éder whose inclusion in the Italian squad was questioned following a poor season for the San Siro side said:
“I’m delighted first and foremost for all of my team-mates, considering how hard we’ve worked. I was happy after the Belgium game too because I felt it was a great performance, even if I didn’t score. When one works so hard, the joys always arrive.
“There’s no such thing as an easy game anymore. We knew it was going to be hard. Details make the difference in football and even throw-ins matter, and these are things we have been working on.
“I dedicate this goal to the whole group, everybody who has worked with us this last year and a half and been here from 18 May because we’ve prepared well, so I dedicate this goal to the whole group.” Éder stated.
After a quiet first half, Italy pushed forward, and Alessandro Florenzi and Antonio Candreva had more joy down the flanks. Simone Zaza and Thiago Motta were also brought on and although Sweden never let the Azzurri control matters as they had done in beating Belgium, Marco Parolo rattled the crossbar with a late header and then Éder cut in from the left, outwitting several defenders before his decisive finish.
Despite Sweden’s possession, it was nigh-on impossible for them to break through as Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci and Andrea Barzagli put on an Italian defensive display any of their Azzurri predecessors would have been proud of while goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was always handy to gobble up any loose ball.