Sweden 0-0 Portugal
Stadium: Nya Ullevi Stadion, Gothenburg, Sweden
Competition: 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifier, UEFA Group 1
Date: 11 October 2008
Kickoff: 19:00 BST, 14:00 ET
Sweden and Portugal fought to a 0-0 draw in a defensive duel in Stockholm. Soccerlens brought you live coverage of the match. Click below for the liveblog.
Portugal and Sweden have a lot in common when it comes to major international tournaments. They always send talented and accomplished squads that always seem to come up short. At Euro 2008, Portugal looked like the team to beat after the group stages, however, they were thoroughly outplayed by the Germans and meekly went out in the Quarterfinals. Sweden started out well, beating defending champions Greece before losing to Spain and Russia to lose out on advancement.
Former Manchester United assistant Carlos Queiroz has inherited a talented Portuguese squad that includes, among others, Deco, Simao, Pepe, Ricardo Carvalho, Jose Bosingwa, and two of his former charges at Manchester United: Nani and Cristiano Ronaldo. His second tenure as Portugal’s manager is off to a rocky start, having lost to Denmark despite leading 2-1 in the 89th minute. Queiroz’s task won’t get any easier with this trip to Sweden. Especially since he’ll be without Deco, Carvalho, Maniche, and Simao.
As for Sweden, they managed to bounce back after a 0-0 draw with Albania to defeat Hungary, 2-1. They’ll be without holding midfielder Tobias Linderoth and attacking midfielder Anders Svensson. Striker Henrik Larsson, a physical marvel at 37 years old, has not only put off his international retirement but has been named captain of the Swedish National team. He’ll be joined, as always, by Inter Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Sweden got goals from other sources during their recent win over Hungary, which is a good sign for them, as they seemed to rely too much on Ibrahimovic during the Euros.
In any event, this should be an excellent match between two teams jockeying for control of their qualification group.
UPDATE: Sweden’s skipper, Henrik Larsson will miss out due to a injured thigh suffered in training. In addition, defenders Olof Mellberg and Erik Edman are out, along with midfielders Anders Svensson and Christian Wilhelmsson. Not sure what’s going on in Sweden’s training camp. Maybe they’re playing on concrete or something.
Sweden: Isaksson, Majstorovic, Hansson, Safari, Nilsson, Kallstrom, Andersson, S. Larsson, Holmen, Ibrahimovic (c), Elmander.
Subs: Wiland, Stoor, Granqvist, Schlebrugge, Elm, Berg, Ingelsten.
Sweden will go with their usual 4-4-2. Sweden’s been able to scrape together enough bodies for this match. It could get ugly, though, especially since they’ve had problems, in the past, against teams that were able to shut down Ibrahimovic.
Portugal: Quim, Bosingwa, Pepe, Alves, Ferreira, Nani, Meira, Ronaldo (c), Meireles, Moutinho, Almeida.
Subs: Eduardo, Miguel, Tonel, Fernandes, Danny, Gomes, Quaresma.
Looks like a 4-5-1 for Portugal. Portugal has their own injury problems, but they’ll get a big boost as Cristiano Ronaldo makes his return, as expected. Nani gets his third straight start, so he’s clearly loving the new Queiroz Era.
90′ + 3 There’s the whistle and we’re done. Thanks to everyone who tuned in. I’ll be back next week as the Premier League resumes play.
90′ +2 Danny slots it to Ronaldo and he takes the long-range shot that’s blocked by Majstorovic.
90′ + 1 Bosingwa’s cross from the right wing goes behind his teammates in the box.
90′ Free kick is cleared away by Portugal. Quaresma gets it and hastily takes a long-range shot, even though he has Ronaldo to his right. Quaresma’s shot goes over the crossbar and he has to apologize to Ronaldo. What’s going on between these two? Did Ronaldo steal Quaresma’s girl? Is Quaresma upset that Ronaldo’s “dream move” got more press than his?
89′ Free kick for Sweden in the attacking half as Alves is called for the foul.
88′ Ibrahimovic tries to flick it on to Larsson, and Ibrahimovic gets called for another foul.
86′ Nani is off for Danny.
85′ Ibrahimovic wins the ball on the edge of the box and he makes a strong move into the box. He’s called for a foul on Pepe, and Ibrahimovic reacts as if he’s been accused of being the second gunman on the grassy knoll.
84′ Quaresma is fouled by Nilsson. Portugal will have a free kick from about 35 yards out or so. Quaresma takes it and goes for goal. Isaksson catches it and starts moving backwards. Luckily for him, he stops himself before the ball goes over the line. Ronaldo was waved off by Quaresma for that free-kick. Hmm…
82′ Elmander is dispossessed by Pepe and Portugal go on the attack. Ball is played to Ronaldo down the left. He tries to center it to Nani, but the ball is behind him and the possession is wasted.
80′ Quaresma gets booked for a leading with his elbow on Safari. He’s been asking for a yellow since coming into the match. He probably should have been booked for the challenge on Kallstrom.
79′ Kallstrom wins the free kick and Larsson lifts it into the box. Quim comes out to catch it. Sweden gets it back and they try to build up their attack. Larsson goes down in the box, but no penalty.
78′ Elmander flicks it towards Ibrahimovic. Ibrahimovic turns and rifles one towards goal and forces Quim to make a great save. Pepe gave Ibrahimovic all kinds of space on that one.
77′ Long cross from Sweden and it nearly goes in. Quim looks like he might have touched it and Ibrahimovic is calling for a corner, but he’s not going to get it.
76′ Another errant backpass (this time from Nilsson) nearly leads to a Cristiano Ronaldo goal. Isaksson is able to kick it away in the nick of time, though.
74′ Kallstrom tries one from long-range, but Quim easily handles it.
72′ Ibrahimovic tries to pick out Elmander as Elmander makes the run towards goal. His pass is long, though, and Portugal clear it away. Kallstrom is down on the pitch after a collision with Quaresma.
71′ Quaresma gets it and he sends it to Nani. Nani tries to thread the ball through to Ronaldo, but it’s long and Isaksson gets to it.
70′ Ronaldo leads the break and he sends it to Quaresma, who makes the run down the right wing. Quaresma’s cross is long and it goes out for a goal-kick.
67′ Good defense by Majstorovic as he gets in front of Nani to keep him from going on a counter-attack.
66′ Nani and Majstorovic collide and Nani is down. Majstorovic is a monster, and I give Nani credit for having the guts to go up for that ball in the first place.
65′ Portugal will make a substution as Almeida will come out for Quaresma. Promising attack by Sweden is wasted when Ibrahimovic’s pass to Nilsson goes out for a Portuguese throw.
64′ Bosingwa loses it as he makes his run down the right. He’s been quiet today, as well.
63′ Long pass to Ibrahimovic, but it’s too long for him.
61′ I can’t understand any of the chants that the Swedish fans are doing. Are they quoting ABBA lyrics? Are their mouths full of Swedish Fish? Are they doing their best Swedish Chef impersonations? Bork bork bork!
60′ Ronaldo wins the free kick, this time. It’s too far out for him to do any damage, though. Moutinho’s free kick is knocked away by the Swedish defense.
59′ Ronaldo is called for a foul on Kallstrom and Ronaldo looks like he’s been violated worse than when Sir Alex told him he wasn’t going to Real Madrid. Replay shows that Ronaldo clearly elbowed Kallstrom in the back.
58′ Kallstrom wins the corner as his cross goes off Pepe. Larsson’s corner is easily taken by Quim. The book on Quim was that he has trouble with balls in the air. He hasn’t shown it, so far.
57′ Isaksson, apparently, left Manchester City because he lost his job to Joe Hart and he wanted to protect his position with the national side. Conceding 8 goals to Boro probably didn’t help his cause with City.
55′ Kallstrom wins the free kick and sends it into the box towards Majstorovic. He gets called for a foul, though, and we’re going back the other way.
54′ Ronaldo with some fancy stepovers (drawing boos from the crowd). He lifts a light overhead pass to Ferriera. Ferriera gets taken down and it goes out to Meira. His shot takes a wicked bounce, but goes out wide.
53′ Sweden has it in Portuguese territory. Nilsson throws it to Elmander. Nilsson gets it back and tries to cross it to Ibrahimovic, but Quim collects it.
52′ Moutinho makes a great move on the edge of the box and strikes it just wide of the post.
51′ Huh? No corner. Ref calls a foul and Isaksson gets to take a freebie. Sweden then gets a free kick after Alves swings an arm into Elmander’s face. They’re right on the edge of the touchline on the right edge. Larsson swings it into the box and Quim has to knock it away. Sweden get it back, but then lose it.
50′ Ronaldo makes the run towards the box. He passes it to Nani down the right, and his cross is knocked out by Nilsson for a corner.
49′ Ronaldo is sprung down the left wing and he sends a shot/cross into the box that skips across the goal towards the right wing. Portugal keep it alive and it goes to Bosingwa. Bosingwa tries to find Ronaldo deep down the left edge of the box, but he gives it away.
48′ Nothing doing on the second corner as Larsson plays it short to Kallstrom, and Kallstrom knocks it over the touchline.
47′ Poor touch from Meira will give Sweden a corner. It’s knocked away by Pepe and Sweden will get another corner. Pepe is complaining of a knock to his head.
46′ No changes for either side and Sweden kicks it off to start the second half. Mireles goes down on the light challenge from Elmander. Crowd boos him and the replay looks like he just got tripped up on his own cleats.
46′ Speaking of England, now that Wayne Rooney came within a Kazakhstan own-goal of a hat trick, how long until the media starts questioning him again? One month? 5 weeks? Until the next round of England qualifiers?
46′ Cristiano Ronaldo hasn’t done anything yet. Queiroz is going to have to come up with more ways to get his best player involved. Heck, even Rio Ferdinand scored today. He can’t let Rio hold that over his head when they all reconvene at Carrington next week, can he?
So, a fairly uneventual first half comes to an end. Sweden (or more accurately, Elmander) had a number of chances to score and should probably be leading right now. Portugal haven’t done a good job keeping possession of the ball and creating goal scoring opportunities. Both teams will have some adjustments to work on.
45′ No added time and we’re at halftime.
42′ Free kick for Sweden on the right edge of the field. Corner goes to the back post, where Majstorvic tries to head past goal, but no dice. Goal kick for Sweden.
41′ Elmander and Pepe get tangled up and Pepe is called for the foul. Sweden will have a free kick from aobut 40 yards out. Larsson whips it towards goal and Ibrahimovic tries to head it in. He can’t get to it, though, and Portugal fans can breathe easier.
40′ Golden chance for Sweden as Andersson sends a deep cross to the far post from the right wing towards Elmander. Elmander gets a great header on goal, but it just misses going in. That should have been a goal. He had space and Quim was out of position. Ugh…
38′ Nilsson with a cross into the box towards Elmander. He can’t handle it and Portugal knock it away.
36′ A good chance for Portugal as Moutinho tries to lift the cross across the box towards Ronaldo. Larsson knocks it away for a corner. Short corner and Sweden steal it and go on the break.
34′ Ibrahimovic gets booked for a hard foul.
33′ Ronaldo on the move. He lays it off to the right to Almeida. Almeida uncorks a hard shot on target, but Isaksson makes a sprawling save. Back again and Almeida tries to repay the favor, but Ronaldo’s shot isn’t even cloase.
31′ Ferriera tries to play the one-two with Ronaldo, but his effort is cleared away from Sweden territory.
30′ Bosingwa makes a run towards the box, and he shoots from long-range. Isaksson isn’t bothered by the shot, though.
29′ Bosingwa tries to send in a cross into the box. His effort is poor, though, and Hansson knocks it away for a throw-in.
27′ Nani whips in the cross, but Majstorovic heads it away.
26′ Elmander with another opportunity as Holmen gets a great through-ball in the box. He chips it to Elmander, who tries to volley it in. His effort goes way over the bar, though. That would have been a tough one for him to get down on the target. Back the other way as Ferreira’s long-ranger goes wanting.
24′ Really not a lot going on here. Both sides seem to be having a lot of problems breaking each other down. Almost a howler there as a poor backpass to Isaksson nearly led to a gift goal for Almeida. Isaksson was able to kick it away, though.
22′ Bosingwa tries his luck from long-range, but it’s well wide of the post.
20′ So, do you think Queiroz and Sir Alex have a deal whereby if Queiroz does his best to poison Ronaldo against Real Madrid, then Sir Alex will insist on Queiroz being the next manager of Man Utd?
18′ Portugal seem to be having trouble with Sweden’s defense. I would have thought that they would have a huge advantage in both speed and skill.
17′ Bosingwa (who’s sporting a mean unibrow) loses possession. Sweden on the attack. Larsson with a cross into the box from deep down the right. Elmander has a free release, but he heads it over the bar. Elmander’s had his chances so far.
14 I’m having connection issues. Elmander won a corner. Larsson swings it in and he finds Kallstrom. Kallstrom heads towards goal, but it’s easily handled by Quim.
13′ Nani with a great ball into the box for Almeida, but he slips and can’t come up with it.
11′ Giveaway from Portugal in their own half and Sweden tries to build up their attack. Nilsson tries to cross it into the box from the right flank, but it’s cleared from danger.
9′ Nothing doing on the corner.
8′ Corner to Portugal as Ronaldo’s shot is off Nilsson. Nani’s corner is knocked away by Sweden. Nani gets it back and slots it to Moutinho. His cross is knocked out for another corner.
7′ Elmander gets a good chance as he gets the pass from Ibrahimovic. Great touch by Ibrahimovic to gain possession and then to pass it to his teammate. Elmander strikes it on goal, but Quim just gets a hand on it to knock it away. Ref blows the call and gives a goal kick instead of a corner.
5′ Corner comes in and it’s to the far post. Portugal just knock it away from danger. Sweden get it back, but Holmen loses it past the end-line for a goal kick.
4′ Sweden on the attack. Cross to Larsson at the right edge of the box, but Ferriera knocks it out. Corner to Sweden.
3′ As much as I like Henrik Larsson, I’m not sure whether Sweden’s reliance on him is a testament to his conditioning or an indictment of their current crop of strikers, other than Ibrahimovic.
1′ Portugal kicks off and we’re underway! S. Larsson tries to play it over the top to Elmander, but it’s long and Quim takes it.
0′ What was looking like a promising match between two solid teams has been derailed by injuries. No Henrik Larsson, no Deco, no Carvalho. Still, we have plenty of stars in this one, and it should be still be interesting. Sweden has a significant height advantage, and we’ll see if that comes into play.
0′ Breathe a sigh of relief, England fans. After a scoreless first-half, England are firmly in control of their match with Kazakhstan. Looks like the Kazakhs will still be known, strictly, for “Borat” after this match is finished. Oh wait, Kazakhstan just scored to make it 2-1. Should be an interesting final 20 minutes.
0′ Welcome everyone to Soccerlens’ coverage of the World Cup Qualifier between Sweden and Portugal! I’m Victor and I’ll be liveblogging the match.
Well, it isn’t the worst result in the world for either side. For Portugal, getting a point, on the road and against a quality team, is never anything to sneeze at. While Queiroz will be under scrutiny for his team’s inability to beat an injury depleted Swedish team, the one thing Portugal could not afford was another loss. As such, they can be thankful that they’ve left Stockholm with a point.
As for Sweden, a draw against the favorites to win the group is a good result. Plus, they can take solace in the fact that, despite missing several of their top players, they came within a couple of Elmander shots of winning the match. They’ll have plenty of time to get their players healthy before their next qualifier in March.
Man of the Match:
Not much to choose from. Ronaldo was mostly a non-factor, as was Ibrahimovic. Elmander blew too many chances and Quaresma seemed determined to steal the limelight during his 20 minutes, or so, of action. Kallstrom and Larsson had solid games for Sweden, as did Pepe for Portugal. Additionally, Majstorovic was dominant, at times, in defense, and was probably Sweden’s best player today. However, Quim was my Man of the Match. He made a number of great saves and played a solid, mistake-free match in goal. He ably handed things in the air, which was the one knock on him coming into the match. Quim helped ensure that his team didn’t slump to a second-straight defeat.