19 November, 2013 - 12:40

Sweden vs Portugal and other World Cup qualification matches preview

Sweden vs Portugal and other World Cup qualification matches preview

Portugal get prepared for a crucial second leg against Sweden at Friends Arena in Stockholm with one-goal handicap courtesy of late Cristiano Ronaldo’s header in Lisbon last week. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, however, is not the kind of a guy to accept the defeat before it is actually formalized.

There are no injured players in both squads and both managers expect the best from their squads on Tuesday nigh. Erik Hamrén claimed:
“There were too many long balls to Johan Elmander and Zlatan Ibrahimovic on Friday and we didn’t have the energy to support the attack. We’ve got to have more quality when we win the ball. I will be happy with an early goal, or even better, two, but we should panic if nothing happens in the first half. Even if it is 0-0 with 10 minutes left there is still a chance.”

Paulo Bento believes his players have a powerful attacking potential:
“What is a fact for me, not only in this match but throughout qualifying, is that we had a load of chances and lacked effectiveness in front of goal. But good things are coming and I believe we will be better on Tuesday.”

The match will be refereed by experienced Howard Webb and starts at 19.45 CET.

Another thriller is awaiting us in Paris when France take on Ukraine in a bid to turn around a two-goal deficit after a spineless display in Kiev last week. Didier Deschamps tries to motivate his players for a historic comeback:
“One side played a top-level match and we played just a match, like it was an ordinary game. We took a slap in the face. This is what the top level is. The players have it inside of them and they will have to show that on Tuesday. Believe in it or not, it’s not even a question to me. If I want the players to be convinced that we can do it, I have to be convinced first. To achieve something extraordinary, we have to be in that state of mind, to think that it’s possible. There’s a possibility. No matter if it’s small or great - it’s real.”
Ukraine coach Mykhaylo Fomenko believes his players do not need a better motivation:
“In such games the players do not need motivation. On the contrary, it was up to the players to deliver, that all depends on them. The foundation of the first-leg win was in their psychology. It would be better if the result was 3-0.”

No national team in Europe has ever turned around a two-goal deficit after first legs while qualifying for major tournaments.

Romania host Greece and will need to work hard after a 1-3 loss last Friday.

Iceland have never been closer to the World Cup after keeping Mario Mandzukic and Luka Modric at bay in Reykjavik last week. However, easy life is never guaranteed at hostile stadium Maksimir in Zagreb.

Elsewhere away from Europe, Ghana have all but qualified after the first leg and are expected to have few problems in Egypt. Burkina Faso travel to Algeria in a bid to make their historic debut at World Cup.

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Author: Leon Smolski

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