Portugal 1-0 Sweden
2014 World Cup Playoff Leg 1
The Portuguese National Football team edged Sweden 1-0 in the first leg encounter of the playoff for next summer’s World Cup. Cristiano Ronaldo was the lone scorer in a match which was focused on the rivalry between two of the world’s finest footballers at the moment: Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Each are the face of their national teams, and much was made pre-game about how the two would fare against each other. It was Cristiano who came out on top, giving Portugal an advantage before the return leg in Sweden.
It became evident soon after the start of the match that Sweden would take a defensive stance, with the team essentially playing a 4-4-1-1, with Johan Elmander playing directly behind Zlatan. Portugal countered this by playing with more of an attacking mindset, and though they seemed vulnerable to a counterattack, controlled the match well. The first half ended without much incident, with both teams unable to break the deadlock, despite coming close.
The second half was a much more lively affair, with Portugal throwing more men behind the ball. Ronaldo became more of an active participant, while Ibrahimovic became more of a bystander in the match. This highlights the shift in the match. And this came to fruition in the 80th minute. Veloso picked up the ball down the left flank, and sent in a peach of a cross, which was met by a diving header from Ronaldo to open the scoring in Portugal’s favor. That was how the match ended: 1-0 to Portugal.
Rui Patricio, Joao Pereira, Fabio Coentrao, Bruno Alves, Pepe, Miguel Veloso, Joao Moutinho, Raul Meireles(Josue), Nani, Ronaldo, Helder Postiga(Hugo Almeida)