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Football, International Friendly (M)
This game will be played in Madeira where the Portuguese captain Cristiano Ronaldo was born
The defending European champion Portugal started the new qualifying cycle for the World Championship in Russia by losing to Switzerland. But, the captain Cristiano Ronaldo was injured and had to miss that duel. The Portuguese quickly came to their senses and lead with their biggest star, they got convincing wins in the next four rounds, with an impressive goal difference of 19-1.
On Saturday, Portugal crushed Hungary at home, and Hungary definitely gave them a hard time a year ago in France. Andre Silva and Cristiano Ronaldo helped Portugal get a big advantage by the end of the first half, and with a greatly executed free kick in the second half, Ronaldo solved any dilemma about who would win the game.
Portugal now have a friendly match against Sweden, and that will be played in Madeira, Cristiano Ronaldo’s birth island.
Fernando Santos announced the national team’s first game at Madeira:
– Ibrahimović is not playing for Sweden anymore, but they’re still an extremely dangerous team. They’re great technically and have players with great skills. Sweden are a very well organized team, and it should be pointed out that teams don’t depend on individuals, but on their collective game.
Because of his injury, the substitute goalie Anthony Lopes had to miss Portugal’s game against Hungary, and Joao Cancelo and Luis Neto are definitely out today. Adrien Silva and the wing forward Nani haven’t been invited for this game because of their injuries.
After the European Championship in France, Sweden started a new era since the goalie Isaakson, the defender Johansson, the midfielders Kallstrom, Wernbloom and Zengin, and the legendary forward Zlatan Ibrahimović all said goodbye to the national team. The new and rejuvenated Swedish national team, lead by the coach Andersson, started the qualifiers for the World Championship in Russia very well.
Sweden won three of the first five rounds, played a tie against Netherlands, and lost an away game in France with a minimum difference. Andersson’s team were lead by the improving Forsberg in Solna last Saturday, and crushed Belarus.
Andersson was pleased with what they showed against the Belarus:
– Of course I’m happy for the win, but also because of the way we implemented our game. We met a team we didn’t know that well and we didn’t know how to react to them, but we did the job well. I was a bit worried because of only one goal advantage considering the numerous chances we had, but we executed all the offensive actions well in the end.
Andersson now has to play a friendly match against the defending champion of Europe:
– We’re playing one of the best teams in the world. Portugal are the European champion and a team who play at a high level. They’re lead by Cristiano Ronaldo, a big figure, but their team have other great players so our focus has to be on their collective.
The guests will have to do without the defenders Wendt and Martin Olsson, and the forward Guidetti at Madeira.