Friday, 15 November 2013

International Break - World-Cup Play-Off's:

Hello and welcome to my latest blog post where I have analysis and a review of all the international matches being played today, on Friday night where the World Cup Play-Off's are officially underway including the heavily-anticipated Zlatan vs Ronaldo: Sweden vs Portugual. 

Two of the world's best forwards in the world going head-to-head for a place at next year's World Cup in Brazil in June - only one will progress from the play-off's which means one will stay at home and we will miss their individual talent for their country. 

Individual contribution to club and country:

Zlatan Ibrahimovic:

1999-01: Malmo FF (40 apps, 16 goals)
2001-04: Ajax (74 apps, 35 goals)
2004-06: Juventus (70 apps, 23 goals)
2006-09: Inter Milan (88 apps, 57 goals)
2009-11: Barcelona (29 apps, 16 goals)
2010-11: AC Milan - loan (29 apps, 14 goals)
2011-12: AC Milan - permanent (32 apps, 28 goals)
2012 - : PSG (45 apps, 38 goals)

For Sweden:
From 2001, he has made 94 appearances and scored 46 goals. Talisman for both club and country, PSG need his presence or they just simply are not a complete team. 

Cristiano Ronaldo:

2002-03: Sporting CP (31 apps, 5 goals)
2003-09: Manchester United (196 apps, 84 goals)
2009 - Real Madrid (148 apps, 162 goals)

For Portugal: 
He has already got over 100 appearances, with 44 goals from 108 international caps for Portugal since 2003. The hub of his country. 

Zlatan vs Ronaldo: Two of the world's best go head-to-head for a spot at next year's WC.

Tonight's international results: 

World Cup Play-Off's, first leg ties:

Iceland 0 Croatia 0
A 0-0 draw between Iceland and Croatia, slightly surprising because the visitors have a solid squad who should be able to power through to the World Cup proper with a comfortable win next week (with all due respect to Iceland, their team is not as strong)

Greece 3 Romania 1
Not a surprising win for Greece, 3-1 at home thanks to goals from in-form striker Konstantinos Mitroglou and Dimitrios Salpingidis, not to mention Romania getting a man sent off near full-time.

Ukraine 2 France 0
Yes.. you read that right. One of the best footballing countries in the world lost 2-0 to Ukraine. It is slightly surprising, but Ukraine are certainly no pushovers that's for sure.

They gave England a run for their money in their World Cup qualifying group, and did well to secure a comfortable 2-0 lead going into the second leg next week despite getting dominated in the midfield for the most part of the game. 

And to make matters worse, they will be without Arsenal centre-back Laurent Koscielny for the second leg tie after getting sent off just before full-time.

Portugal 1 Sweden 0

Zlatan vs Ronaldo: Part 1 was on show for all to see and enjoy earlier tonight, and there was a clear winner in the first leg of their World Cup qualifying play-off. The hosts were dominating their opposition in terms of ball possession and goal-scoring chances, but could not finish their opportunities in the first half and were almost punished by Zlatan and Larsson a few times throughout the match.

It looked as though Sweden would go away with a well-earned point, before 10 minutes from time an inviting cross into the box was headed powerfully down into the ground by Ronaldo who got past his marker in a flash to open the scoring and give Portugal a crucial 1 goal advantage in the race for World Cup qualification. 

Thank you for reading my blog post tonight, I will have a separate blog post analysising and reviewing the England vs Chile match as well as the latest Team Of The Week... speak to you all later! :)