Oh Dear - Seb Gets It SO Wrong
Full marks to Sebastian Larsson for believing he would get the better of Cristiano Ronaldo. But there's only one of them going to Brazil in June.
BEFORE THE GAME ...
Sebastian Larsson claims Sweden will be able to give Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo a rough ride in Sweden's World Cup play-off in Stockholm because English referee Howard Webb will not fall for his "tricks". Portugal go into the match leading 1-0 from the first leg - Ronaldo scored the only goal with a diving header - but Larsson believes the appointment of an English referee could be crucial to Sweden's hopes of making the finals in Brazil next summer.
Ronaldo won a number of free-kicks during the first leg but Sunderland midfielder Larsson told media in Sweden: "We have an English referee now so we can probably go in a bit harder.
"I do not think he is going to fall for the same tricks so easily.
"Howard Webb is used to refereeing where the game is a little more physical. He's a great referee, too, which is important for such a big game.
"We cannot go out all guns blazing but we must have a more attacking game with more ball higher up the pitch, then we will get Zlatan more in the game."
Ronaldo has himself previously expressed a liking for playing in matches under Webb, who will have the same assistants in Mike Mullarkey and Darren Cann as officiated with him at the 2010 World Cup final. Another Premier League referee, Andre Marriner, will act as fourth official.
"The truth is I like this referee a lot," said the Real Madrid star earlier this year. "He is English, he has refereed many of my games there and I like him a lot."
There is nervousness about the match in Portugal with media pointing to the fact that the temperature will be around freezing point, and that the pitch is not in a very good condition.
Former Manchester United winger Ronaldo is expecting "another battle".
He said: "Portugal have a small advantage, and we are expecting a very difficult game, but we are ready.
"We will have to be fully focused. More than anything else, these players want to be in Brazil, so we will give our best to get there."
SWEDEN 2 PORTUGAL 3 ...
Cristiano Ronaldo won his battle with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and ensured Portugal qualified as he scored a hat-trick in a 3-2 win in Sweden.
The Real Madrid forward fired Portugal ahead on 50 minutes, to give them a 2-0 lead in the tie.
But Ibrahimovic then threatened to take over as he headed Sweden level on the night before thumping them ahead with a free-kick that was too hot for Rui Patricio to handle.
Sweden suddenly needed just one more goal in the final 15 minutes to progress, but Ronaldo ended their hopes almost as quickly as Ibrahimovic revived them.
With 77 minutes gone he was left in too much space and crashed his shot beyond Andreas Isaksson. Two minutes later the tie was over as he rounded the goalkeeper before shooting high into the net.
PREMIER LEAGUE FIXTURES ...
Saturday November 23
12:45 Everton v Liverpool 15:00 Arsenal v Southampton 15:00 Fulham v Swansea City 15:00 Hull City v Crystal Palace 15:00 Newcastle United v Norwich City 15:00 Stoke City v Sunderland 17:30 West Ham United v Chelsea
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13:30 Manchester City v Tottenham 16:00 Cardiff City v Man Utd
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20:00 West Brom v Aston Villa
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