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)
William Carvalho has earned his first call-up to the Portuguese National Team for the World Cup playoff matches against Sweden on the 15th and 19th. The holding midfielder’s performances this season have been nothing short of spectacular, and many believe that this call is overdue. So impressive are his performances that Barcelona, Manchester United, and Arsenal are all seriously interested in acquiring his services.
The Seleccao face Sweden at home on the 15th, and in Sweden on the 19th. This is a do or die situation for Portugal, with qualification for their eighth consecutive major tournament on the line. Here’s the entire list:
Goalkeepers – Beto (Sevilla), Eduardo (Braga), Rui Patrício (Sporting)
Defenders – João Pereira (Valência), Ricardo Costa (Valência), André Almeida (Benfica), Antunes (Málaga), Fábio Coentrão (Real Madrid), Pepe (Real Madrid), Bruno Alves (Fenerbahçe), Luís Neto (Zenit)
Midfielders – Miguel Veloso (Dinamo Kiev), William Carvalho (Sporting), Raul Meireles (Fenerbahçe), João Moutinho (Mónaco), Rúben Micael (Braga), Josué (Porto)
Forwards – Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Nani (Manchester United), Varela (Porto), Bruma (Galatasaray), Hélder Postiga (Valência), Hugo Almeida (Besiktas), Éder (Braga)
Sweden will be the final test for the Portuguese National Football team in their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign, as the two-legged draw will decide which team will earn a spot in Brazil. While Sweden will be a stern test for the Seleccao, the team did manage to avoid drawing France, who are a very strong side at the moment. The two legs of the playoff will happen on November 15th (in the Estadio da Luz) and on November 19th (in Sweden). Should Portugal fail to defeat Sweden in the play-off, it would mean that the Seleccao would not qualify for the World Cup. This would be a huge disappointment, seeing as Portugal has qualified for every major tournament since 2000.
Brand-new Portugal Under-21 team coach, Rui Jorge, has scheduled a set of friendlies for next year. The Portugal Under-21 team has struggled in the past few years, which has puzzled many fans of the team because the team has so much talent. There is new hope with Rui Jorge,who was a seasoned National Team veteran. The team will face Sweden on February 9th. Following that game, the team will face two back-to-back games against Romania and Denmark, on March 25 and 28, respectively. The team will then end the season with games against Germany on May 31 and Austria on June 3.
Vitoria Setubal defender Ruben Lima has been added to the Under-21 Team roster for their upcoming friendly match against Sweden. Daniel Carrico was released from the list due to the injury that he picked up in Sporting’s demolition of Porto, which is why Ruben Lima was included.
Oceano Cruz, the Portugal Under-21 team coach, released today a list of 18 players for the upcoming friendly against Sweden(on March 2nd).
Here’s the list:
Benfica: Miguel Vítor;
FC Paços Ferreira: Candeias;
Gil Vicente FC: Pedro Moreira e Rui Pedro;
Real Sport Clube: Diogo Salomão
Rio Ave FC: Fábio Faria;
SC Covilhã: Diego Silva;
SC Olhanense: Castro, João Gonçalves, Rabiola, Ukra, Ventura e Yazalde;
Sporting CP: Adrien Silva, Bruno Pereirinha e Daniel Carriço;
UD Leiria: André Santos;
Vitória FC de Setúbal: André Pinto.