SWEDEN 0-0 PORTUGAL, Solna, 11/10/08
This UFWC title match and WC qualifier ended goalless despite decent chances for both sides. Lars Lagerbeck and Carlos Queiroz were both struggling with depleted squads for this game. Sweden were missing Henrik Larsson, Erik Edman, Olof Mellberg, Anders Svensson, Christian Wilhelmsson and Tobias Linderoth, while Portugal had to do without Maniche, Deco, Simao Sabrosa, Ricardo Carvalho, Pedro Mendes and Miguel Veloso.
Bolton’s Johan Elmander took advantage of the absences to turn in an eye-catching performance – going close to breaking the deadlock five times in the first half, as Sweden dominated.
Portugal’s best chance of the first half fell to Cristiano Ronaldo, but the Manchester United star, booed throughout the game, blasted his shot high and wide. Perhaps he had one eye on the stands: “It was very good to play here, good atmosphere,” he said. “There were beautiful people in the crowd.”
Portugal improved in the second half, with Joao Moutinho shooting narrowly wide and Raul Meireles forcing a good save from Swedish keeper Andreas Isaksson.
Stand-in skipper Zlatan Ibrahimovic almost grabbed a late winner for Sweden in the 78th minute, but his left-footed drive was tipped away by humorously-named Portugal goalkeeper Quim.
“Sweden played better than us in the first half,” said Ronaldo. “In the second, I think Portugal played better. I think the draw is a good result.”
“I’m satisfied,” said Ibrahimovic. “We should have won, but one point is better than no point.”
Sweden retain the UFWC title, but fail to improve their all-time ranking score, with ranking points only awarded for title match victories.
Sweden’s next match is a friendly in the Netherlands on 19 November. The Dutch are currently ranked 5th in the UFWC rankings, with 32 title match wins to 10th-place Sweden’s 26.
Sweden: Andreas Isaksson, Mikael Nilsson, Daniel Majstorovic, Petter Hansson, Behrang Safari, Sebastian Larsson, Kim Kallstrom, Daniel Andersson, Samuel Holmen, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Johan Elmander.
Portugal: Quim, Jose Bosingwa, Pepe, Bruno Alves, Paulo Ferreira, Joao Moutinho, Fernando Meira, Raul Meireles, Nani (Danny 86), Hugo Almeida (Ricardo Quaresma, 65), Cristiano Ronaldo.