Sweden v Portugal reaches its climax as punters eye the first last and anytime goalscorer odds markets with Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic likely to prove the deciding factor in the game of the night.
Portugal will look to finish off the job and secure their place in Rio next year as they face Erik Hamrén’s side in Stockholm tonight.
Paulo Bento’s side secured a narrow first leg advantage, their first home win over Sweden, thanks to Ronaldo’s 82nd minute header and a first win since 2002 in Sweden would seal their place in the World Cup.
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A draw would be enough for Portugal to progress but Bento is hoping to finish the job off, telling reporters “I think that overall, especially in the second half, we were by far the better team. We dominated the whole match, even more so in the second 45 minutes, as we created several chances to get a more comfortable result.
Now the goal is to prepare the team to win again in Sweden, knowing that we are going there with a slender lead but with no goals conceded. We certainly won’t go to Sweden to defend this result.”
Bento will start with both Pepe and Ronaldo after the Real Madrid sat out training on Saturday as a precaution.
Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic meanwhile believes that with a full house behind them the Swedes, who have the measure of Portugal now, should progress.
“We fought hard and well, then one mistake – one goal. That’s how it is. We played a good team. Next we play them at home. We’ve got the measure of them now, and that’s an advantage. It’s the last game before the World Cup now, and from what I’ve heard it’s going to be a full house. Get behind us and we’ll make it” the PSG striker told reporters after the game.
Erik Hamren is expected to keep faith with the team that came so close to a draw in Lisbon.
The former Rosenborg manger was pleased with his side’s defensive effort in the first leg but disappointed to have conceded so late in the game.
“I’m always disappointed when we lose. On the whole, we played a good match defensively. What hurts a bit is that we had three good chances to take the lead in the first half. We would have liked to have come away from here having scored a goal.” Hamren said
Sweden need to score two goals to advance although a 1-0 success would lead to extra time and possibly penalties.