Sweden held by Portugal in World Cup qualifier

Peter Vinthagen Simpson
Peter Vinthagen Simpson - [email protected]
Sweden held by Portugal in World Cup qualifier

Sweden were held to a goalless draw by Portugal in their group 1 World Cup qualifier at Råsunda Stadium in Stockholm on Saturday.


A dull match with few chances left both teams looking pleased with their respective point from the contest.

Sweden created the better of the chances, most of which fell to Bolton striker Johan Elmander who will perhaps be left feeling that he should have tucked away at least one of them.

Sweden remain undefeated in the group despite missing several key players for the clash against the Euro 2004 finalists.

Daniel Majstorovic was paired with Petter Hansson in the centre of defence in the absence of Olof Mellberg.

A new look midfield was built around Lyon's Kim Källström and Daniel Andersson, with both Anders Svensson and Tobias Linderoth injured.

Sebastian Larsson and Samuel Holmén both showed promise on the flanks with Christian Wilhelmsson (injured) and Fredrik Ljungberg (retired) both missing.

Portugal lacked the wizardry of the injured Deco and looked lacklustre as their stars failed to make an impact. Manchester United's Christiano Ronaldo stood for much of the pre-match media focus but aside from a few small cameos, contributed little to a game containing little goalmouth action.

Inter star Zlatan Ibrahimovic took the captain's armband for the first time after the retirement of Fredrik Ljungberg from international football after Euro 2008.

Ibrahimovic's journey from a childhood in the tough Malmö suburb of Rosengård to the position of Sweden's captain was the subject of much of the post-match media discussion and he told of his pride at being given the honour.

"It feels huge, a great honour. I never thought I would experience this. It was a great honour to be offered the captaincy. The only thing I could do was accept," Ibrahimovic said after the game.

Ibrahimovic will miss Sweden's next match - the return match in Portugal in March - after being shown a yellow card late in the game.

Denmark took the chance afforded them by the Stockholm stalemate, outclassing Malta to win 3-0 in Copenhagen. Sören Larsson (2) and Daniel Agger scored the goals to put Denmark in pole position in the group with seven points from three matches.

Sweden lie second with five points and Albania, Portugal and Hungary are all on four points going into the fourth round of matches on Wednesday.


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