Portugal vs Sweden 11/15/2013 Free World Cup Qualifier Playoffs Pick and Preview
Sweden vs Portugal
Friday 15th November 2013 19:45 (GMT)
The Line: Portugal 7/10 Draw 13/5 Sweden 9/2 See the Latest Odds
TV: ESPN3; Sky Sports
Another qualifying campaign another playoff for Portugal. For a team with so many talented individuals Portugal sure do get it hard to qualify for major tournaments. It would appear as if Portugal need to be in a win or go home scenario before they are at their best. Manager Paulo Bento will have some apprehension over the fitness of star man Cristiano Ronaldo as the Real Madrid star has sat out practice a couple of times recently and is definitely at less than 100%. But of course at less than 100% Ronaldo is probably still better than 99% of other players. This Portugal team has strength across the back and midfield with Pepe, Contreau, Bruno Alves, Nani, Mouthino and Meireles. The only place Portugal are light in depth is upfront but that is also arguably where they are strongest with Cristiano Ronaldo who at the moment is probably the best player on the planet.
Sweden are a mixed bag, Ibrahimovich is sensational at his best and with Elmander up front has a perfect foil for his unpredicatable play. Seb Larsson will look to provide the inspiration from midfield but this Sweden team will probably look to keep it tight and bring the game back to Stockholm with the game all tied up or at worst trailing by a goal. Sweden believe that they can knock Portugal out and with Ibrahimovich up front anything is possible for this team.
Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports
Most media outlets are billing this as a showdown between Ronaldo and Ibrahimovich, if that was truly the case Portugal would trounce Sweden because as good as Zlatan is he is not even close to Ronaldo. There are two players head and shoulders above the rest right now, Ronaldo and Messi. The best of the rest are a distant third. But for me this game is a tough one to call. I'm going to take the unders as I think we see a very cagey game which neither side will want to lose. An early goal of course could change this but I just dont see that happening. Take the unders here and cash a winner. I will have a pick on the winner available on the Sportschatplace App. Follow me on twitter @antonpippo