Portugal v Sweden: Match Preview
Two of the best players in the world pit themselves against each other tonight with the chance of booking their place at the World Cup next year in Brazil.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic square off, as Portugal host their European counterparts Sweden in the first leg qualification match for the World Cup.
Both teams failed to produce a top two finish in qualification and this lead to both teams having to face each other in order to have the chance to compete next year.
The pair is both battling for the chance to reach the World Cup and tonight’s match could be the deciding factor of which star you will see come next July.
Portugal enters the game with a strong team and on the back of a 3-0 victory over Luxembourg, which will put them in good stead for this match.
Star man Ronaldo has recently been on fire for his club Real Madrid, having scored a hat trick in the recent 5-1 dubbing of Real Sociedad last weekend. The former Manchester United winger was in typical fine form, demonstrating his diverse skill set with a sumptuous free kick, a week after he completed a hat trick against Sevilla in Madrid’s 7-3 victory.
Whilst Portugal fans will be licking their lips at the thought of Ronaldo tearing apart the Swedish defensive line of Martin Olsson and Nilson, they will also have to be aware of the PSG forward Ibrahimovic.
The Swede has proved invaluable to his club and country in recent years and also goes into the game red hot. Last weekend he also completed a hat trick, this time against Nice. The final was to be his 15th goal in 17th matches this season, as his goals have helped the French capital side climb to the top of the table.
Whilst Ibrahimovic has consistently been one of the best players in Europe each season, he only gained true notoriety from the British public since his antics for Sweden against England just over a year ago. This saw the Swede score all four goals for his country, including an outrageous 30-yard bicycle that everybody will remember. Both teams include notable names from around the world of football, with the likes of Nani, Sebastian Larsson, Fabio Coentrao, Varela, Ola Toivonen and recent Fulham signing Alexander Kacaniklic all expected to feature in the match tonight.
Portugal will go into the game feeling confident of the getting the victory. They will feel that if Ronaldo can get scoring and give the side a lead to take to on their travels in the return fixture, that they will be able to hold Sweden and qualify.
This game has the potential to be a very entertaining one, especially with two of the best players in world football competing against each other. It may be decided by a moment of sheer brilliance from either man, however it will take much more of a team performance than that to get the job done.
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