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WORLD CUP

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.

Sweden held by Portugal in World Cup qualifier

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.

FOOTBALL

Nordic countries to launch joint bid to host 2027 World Cup

Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland want to jointly host the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2027.

Nordic countries to launch joint bid to host 2027 World Cup
Sweden players during this year's World Cup in France. Photo: Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

The five Nordic nations want to share hosting duties for the 2027 edition of the World Cup finals and are to present the idea to the Nordic Council at a meeting in Stockholm on Tuesday, Danish football association DBU has confirmed.

FIFA is already positively disposed to joint bids for future finals tournaments, which has lent encouragement to the Nordic project, according to DBU's chairman Jesper Møller.

“We can see that support for women's football is here to stay, most recently at the (2019) World Cup in France, where matches were played in front of full stadiums and television viewers' interest was huge,” Møller said.

“A joint Nordic World Cup would not only ensure a fantastic experience for many football fans but will also strengthen important Nordic partnerships and community, and hopefully inspire many football-keen women and girls,” he continued.

“That's why support from the Nordic Council is important,” he added.

The Nordic Council (Nordisk Råd) is the official body for inter-parliamentary co-operation among the five Nordic countries and three territories of the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and the Åland Islands.

DBU is also looking into the possibility of hosting the 2025 European Championships in Denmark.

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