Portugal and Sweden faced off tonight with a ticket to the 2014 FIFA World Cup on the line. Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo and eccentric Paris Saint German attacker Zlatan Ibrahimovic clashed in an encounter that will most likely be memorable. Portugal entered as favorites because tonight’s game was played on their home soil at the Estadio Da Luz.
Ibrahimovic stated this week that the World Cup needs him more than it does Ronaldo; that would seem a bit strange, as Ronaldo is probably the best known footballer in the game. He is certainly more of a household name than Ibrahimovic and would seem to make the competition more attractive than him as well.
That is not to say that Sweden doesn’t play attractive football or that Ibrahimovic is not a wonderful player; it just came off as an egotistical thing to say. Sebastian Larsson, Alexander Kacaniklic and Johan Elmander should help him cause a frail Portugal defense a very hard time. Portugal’s defense includes Real Madrid duo Pepe and Fabio Coentrao, but seems to be very fragile and could be their eventual undoing.
Portugal are known for their attacking prowess with Nani from Manchester United and Joao Moutinho from AS Monaco joining Ronaldo in attack. Look for them to explode and have a big day in front of their home crowd, as well as in Sweden. They owe it to their fans to get a good result at home and try and close them out next week when the teams travel to Sweden.
I personally don’t see Sweden as a good team, nor do I like how they depend solely on Ibrahimovic to get things done. He is a superstar and a wonderful athlete, but even if he firmly believes he can do it on his own, he can’t; this is a team sport. I like Portugal’s chances tonight and I fully expect to see them next year in Brazil.