Photo: AFP

Photo: AFP

Sweden 2-3 Portugal (2-4 aggregate)

Cristiano Ronaldo’s second-half hat-trick booked Portugal’s place at the 2014 Brazil World Cup finals after a second-leg play-off victory in Solna.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice in four minutes following Ronaldo’s 50th-minute strike to set up a tense finale. However, the Real Madrid forward netted a further two goals to secure qualification for Portugal.

Erik Hamrén’s team came into the game trailing to a first-leg Ronaldo goal, but although the home side started brightly, the visitors came close when Bruno Alves’s header from a João Moutinho free-kick forced Andreas Isaksson into a stretching save on 14 minutes.

Martin Olsson tried his luck with a low shot from distance three minutes later but Portugal began to take control of the match.

Ronaldo came close with three chances in four minutes before he turned provider when Hugo Almeida headed the winger’s cross into the side netting on 37 minutes.

Kim Källström hit back with a powerful low strike at Rui Patricio before Ibrahimovic’s volley went high a minute before the break.

Both teams upped their tempo in the second period, and just a minute after Patricio was forced into a save from Sebastian Larsson’s shot, Ronaldo coolly fired home Moutinho’s through-ball in a swift counter-attacking move.

Ibrahimovic restored Sweden’s hopes when he scored a header and a low free-kick within four pell-mell minutes to turn the tie on its head.

But five minutes later, Ronaldo drove in a low strike before receiving a through-ball and rounding Isaksson to complete his hat-trick on 79 minutes.


2 Responses »

  1. Scott C says:

    Ronaldo’s finishing is out of this world! Unfortunate we won’t see Ibra at the World Cup as well though.

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