This is the marquee match up of the World Cup playoffs. It pits two powerful nations, Sweden and Portugal, together in an epic battle. Both nations have superstar goal scorers. Sweden has Paris Saint-Germain forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Portugal has Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Swedish team are looking forward to Englishman Howard Webb officiating the contest. They think that will allow them to be more physical with Ronaldo.
“We have an English referee now so we can probably go in a bit harder,” Sebastian Larsson said. “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.”
The first leg looked like it was headed towards a scoreless draw, then Ronaldo scored a header in the final minutes of the game. He got a few more chances and failed to convert, but gave his nation a 1-0 lead in the playoffs.
“Portugal have a small advantage, and we are expecting a very difficult game, but we are ready,” Ronaldo said, via ESPN FC. “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.”
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