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International Football round-up: Portugal, Ukraine inch towards Brazil

SENIOR ANALYST
Modified 16 Nov 2013, 15:05 IST
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Portugal 1-0 Sweden

Cristiano Ronaldo (R) celebrates with Pepe after scoring the only goal of the game

Cristiano Ronaldo (R) celebrates with Pepe after scoring the only goal of the game

In the most anticipated match of the day, Portugal overcame Sweden by a solitary game from Cristiano Ronaldo at the Estádio da Luz in Lisbon.

In the big battle between the two of the biggest superstars of world football – Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic – the Portuguese came out on top as Ibrahimovic could hardly influence the game as Sweden lined up in a very defensive manner and provided very little support to the big Paris Saint-Germain striker.

Portugal were well worth the win as they dominated most of the match, having 19 shots to Sweden’s 6 and enjoyed 68% of the possession. The Swedes will hope to bounce back next week at the Friends Arena in Solna as their World Cup chances are hanging by a thread.

Ukraine 2-0 France

Laurent Koscielny is shown a red card by referee Cuneyt Cakir of Turkey

Laurent Koscielny is shown a red card by referee Cuneyt Cakir of Turkey

Ukraine pulled out a huge shock as they defeated France 2-0 in the first leg of their World Cup qualifier in the Olympic Stadium in Kiev on Friday.

Roman Zozulya opened the scoring just after the hour mark after some a fine move from the Ukrainians. Despite Hugo Lloris getting a hand on the shot from Zozulya, the French custodian couldn’t stop the ball from rolling into the goal.

Zozulya then drew a foul from Laurent Koscielny which saw referee Cuneyt Cakir point to the spot. Andriy Yarmolenko made no mistake from 12 yards out as the crowd at the Olympic Stadium erupted in joy as French manager Didier Deschamps looked on in horror.

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The night got worse for Koscielny as he was sent off later on in the 91st minute for blatantly hitting out at Olexander Kucher. Kucher, himself, was sent off for a second bookable offence just a couple of minutes later as both teams ended with 10 men on the pitch.

The return leg will most likely be a tasty affair and Les Blues will need some special to qualify for the World Cup now.

Greece 3-1 Romania

Konstantinos Mitroglou celebrates with his teammate Dimitris Siovas after scoring

Konstantinos Mitroglou celebrates with his teammate Dimitris Siovas after scoring

At the Karaiskakis Stadium, Greece beat Romania 3-1 in a game that saw three goals in the first 20 minutes of the game.

Konstantinos Mitroglou opened the scoring for the Greeks in the 14th with a delightful volley from a beautifully weighed long ball from Dimitris Salpingidis.

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Just five minutes later, Greece were caught out as Romania made most of a set-piece that was headed in from close range by Genclerbirligi forward Bogdan Stancu. Before the Romanians could even celebrate their away goal, they were down again after Salpingidis, the provider for the first goal, turned scorer as he tapped in from point blank range.

Mitroglou added another in the 66th minute, as the Olympiacos striker scored from another volley, this time from a Gergoris Samaras free-kick.

The Romanians have a huge task ahead of them to turn the tie around in Bucharest next week but will garner some hope from the fact they have an away goal under their belt.

Iceland 0-0 Croatia

Ivica Olic (L) vies for the ball with Iceland

Ivica Olic (L) vies for the ball with Iceland’s midfielder Gylfi Thor Sigurdsson (C) and Iceland’s defender Ari Freyr Skulason

Croatia look favourites to qualify for the World Cup after they played out a goalless draw against Iceland in Reykjavik.

Iceland had to play nearly the entire second half with 10 men after Olafur Ingi Skulason was shown a direct red card in the 50th for preventing a clear goal scoring opportunity.

Iceland are aiming to become the smallest country to play in a FIFA World Cup and will take heart from knowing that an away goal from them in Zagreb on Wednesday will definitely set the cat among the pigeons.

International Friendlies:

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Alexis Sanchez of Chile celebrates after scoring the second goal

Alexis Sanchez of Chile celebrates after scoring the second goal

England were shocked at Wembley as the 1966 World Cup champions went down 2-0 to Chile.

Three players – Fraser Forster, Jay Rodriguez and Adam Lallana – were handed their international debuts by Roy Hodgson, but it was the Chileans who were dominant on the night.

Alexis Sanchez scored in the 7th minute with a well-cushioned header and then added a second, with a delightful chip, at the death to hand the South Americans a famous win over The Three Lions. This was the first time in 14 years, England lost by a two goal margin at Wembley.

Meanwhile at the San Siro, Italy and Germany drew 1-1 as two first half goals from defenders Mats Hummels and Ignazio Abate settled the game between the two footballing giants.

Italy have been quite the bogey team for the Germans over the last two decades. Die Mannschaft haven’t beaten the Azzurri in an international game since 1995.

Ignazio Abate scores Italy

Ignazio Abate scores Italy’s goal

In the absence of captain Lionel Messi, Argentina played out a dull goalless draw at home against Ecuador.

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The two dark horses for next year’s World Cup Belgium and Colombia faced off at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels. In a game attended by Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, the South Americans beat the Belgians 2-0 with the goals coming from Radamel Falcao and Victor Ibarbo.

Other results:

South Korea 2-1 Switzerland
Belarus 0-0 Albania
Czech Republic 2-0 Canada
Russia 1-1 Serbia
Estonia 2-1 Azerbaijan
Poland 0-2 Slovakia
Scotland 0-0 United States
Jamaica 0-1 Trinidad and Tobago
Denmark 2-1 Norway
Turkey 1-0 Northern Ireland
Republic of Ireland 3-0 Latvia

Published 16 Nov 2013, 13:28 IST
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