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FIFA World Cup Qualifier Match Preview: Portugal vs Sweden

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13 Nov 2013, 21:51 IST

Portugal vs Sweden – Match Preview

Brace up to see two football superstars, battle it out for a spot in FIFA World Cup 2014

Zlatan vs Ronaldo

16th November 2013

1:15 AM IST
Estadio da Luz, Lisbon

Zlatan Ibrahimovic or Cristiano Ronaldo, who will make it to the World Cup 2014? Now, that’s a difficult question that will be answered soon. It’s not just a World cup qualifying match; it’s a match between two football superstars. Fans of either star must be waiting with bated breath to see who would end up at the World cup 2014 in Brazil.

Who would’ve imagined at the start of the World cup qualifiers, that one of these footballing greats would have to face each other to earn a spot at the upcoming FIFA World cup in Brazil? And one of these will sit in the comfort of their homes and watch the World cup Live on their TV.

The tie is scheduled to take place over two legs; the first one would be hosted by Portugal and then the teams travel to Stockholm for the second leg. However, away goals will be taken into consideration if the score remains same after two matches.

The match will depend heavily on the performances of its star players. Both the stars have the quality in them to snatch victory from each other’s grasp and proceed to the world cup.

A look at the group stages:

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Portugal started the group stages on a winning note, going 1-0 down to Luxembourg pretty early in the match, but coming back strongly to win and finish at 1-2. The Portuguese side must be high on confidence, after winning the last group stage match against Luxembourg. However, their 1-0 defeat to Russia and draws against Northern Ireland & Israel would still be fresh in their minds. Portugal finished the group stages with 21 points, one point behind the first placed Russian team.

Sweden & Portugal finished 2nd in their respective groups

And on the other hand, Sweden has also been quite similar to their counterparts, by winning 6 games, losing twice and drawing twice and ending the group stages with 20 points.  The match against Germany was a closely contested one, which ended in a 4-4 draw in the first leg, thanks to a stupendous comeback from being 4-0 down to ending with a Rasmus Elm strike in the back of the net during injury time. The reverse fixture was also a closely contested high scoring game where Sweden lost 3-5.

Key Players:

Portugal- Cristiano Ronaldo

For Portugal, it has to be Cristiano Ronaldo. The man in form would be hoping to be at his best and guide Portugal to the biggest event in football, the World cup in Brazil. He has been in brilliant form in La Liga and in the International stage as well. Ronaldo has scored only twice in the group stages, one against Luxembourg and a hat trick against Northern Ireland. The stage is set for him to show his class. Considering his age, this is his best chance to provide stellar performances and bring Portugal close to World cup glory.

Who will make it to the World Cup in Brazil?

Sweden- Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Without a shadow of doubt, it’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic for Sweden. Ibrahimovic has scored 6 goals in the competition so far, 2 more than Ronaldo, and he would be going into the match hoping to increase the tally of his goals, but more importantly, to guide Sweden to the World cup in Brazil. And, even Ibrahimovic must be feeling that this is his chance to have a go at the World cup.

Both players have to give it their best in this particular match, to guide their team to the World Cup 2014. Not only the team’s hopes, but also the entire nations hope depends on them to a large extent.

Moutinho also needs to be at his best & help out Cristiano Ronaldo when going forward, and in defence, Pepe & Bruno Alves have to do the major work of cutting out the Sweden attack.

Sweden’s defence should improve their game, considering the number of goals they have given away especially against Germany, 9 in two games.

Predicted Line-ups:

Portugal:

R. Patricio; J. Pereira, Pepe, B. Alves, F. Coentrao; J. Moutinho, M. Veloso, Josue; Nani, H. Postiga, C. Ronaldo (C)

Coach: Paulo Bento

Sweden:

A. Isaksson; M. Lustig, M.Olsson, J. Olsson, M. Antosnson; R. Elm, P. Wernbloom, J. Durmaz, S. Larsson; J. Elamander, Z. Ibrahimovic (C)

Coach: Eric Hamren

Last five matches:

Portugal: WDLWD (including friendly)

Sweden: LWWWW (including friendly)

It is hard to predict the winner in this tie, but one thing is for sure, it will be a very closely contested match and we can expect a high scoring game.

Ibrahimovic or Ronaldo, who will end up smiling at the end of this tie?

And who will make it to the World cup in Brazil?

Let’s wait and find out.

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