The hosts took the lead in the 61st minute through Johansson, who smashed a half-volley beyond Buffon with the aid of a wicked deflection just minutes after coming on as a substitute.
Midfielder Albin Ekdal told TMW Radio: "The Azzurri didn't create very much against us and to be honest I expected Italy to be stronger, but everything could change on Monday".
But despite a run to the Euro 2012 final and Antonio Conte's men reaching the quarter-finals of last year's European Championship with credible wins over Spain and Belgium, they have failed to deliver consistently on the big stage. That doesn't mean that Sweden doesn't.
Jorginho finally getting the nod in Ventura's starting XI on Monday may still not be enough for the Azzurri to escape from the dire situation they find themselves in, but at least it's a step in the right direction.
The match has an added significance for Buffon, who is set to retire at the end of the season.
The four-time world champions risk missing out on the summer finals for the first time since 1958 and this play-off result piles further pressure on a side who struggled throughout the qualifying campaign.
"It's happened so many times in my career that I've been in front of important crossroads", Buffon said.
I think it's almost better that Sweden are playing without Ibrahimovic, because he was a pain on the pitch. This is not completely their fault though, as the direction given from their Coach often seemed muddled at best. Captain Buffon - bidding to reach a record sixth World Cup finals in Russia - is one of the last survivors of Italy's golden generation of 2006 World Cup winners.
Buffon is one of three 2006 World Cup-winning veterans - the others are De Rossi, 34, and 36-year-old defender Andrea Barzagli - still in the team. Us players are experiencing this calmly, but each of us is experiencing it in their own personal way.