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Friday, 27 March 2009 14:49

Portugal's South African dream slipping away

Portugal 0-0 Sweden 

Sweden badgePortugal badgeDespite a decent performance by Portugal the seleccao were unable to make the breakthrough. A goalless draw makes qualification for South Africa even more complicated. Portugal have dropped nine points so far in the qualification phase.

 

It has to be wins all the way for Portugal now if the team are to make it to their sixth successive major championships.

 

 

Portugal 0-0 Sweden

 

Despite a decent performance by Portugal the seleccao were unable to make the breakthrough. A goalless draw makes qualification for South Africa even more complicated. Portugal have dropped nine points so far in the qualification phase. It has to be wins all the way for Portugal now if the team are to make it to their sixth successive major championships.

 

93' Final whistle goes. 

 

92' Ronaldo wins a free-kick near the corner flag. Possibly Portugal's final chance. A flick-on on the near post flies just over Carvalho's head at the far post.  

 

90' Three minutes of stoppage time to be played.  

 

88' It's now the Swedish supporters who are making the most noise. This will be a good result for the Scandinavians.  

 

84' Portugal break to the other end of the pitch and win a dangerous free-kick. Deco's shot goes off the wall for a corner. A short corner is well crossed into the box by Duda and Ronaldo heads over from point-blank range.

 

83' Danger for portugal as Elmander has space in the box but shoots wide.

 

80' Sweden make another substitution. Off comes Svenson with Larsson taking his place.  

 

77' Excellent support from the Porto crowd. This is far from over yet.  

 

74' Tremendous effort from Deco who hits a 25-metre shot sweetly but inches past the post.

 

73' Next it's Ronaldo who fires in a good effort. The Swedish goalkeeper again saves well.

 

72' Portugal close to scoring! Some great wing play from Ronaldo has the Swedes backpeddling, the ball falls to Deco who shoots for goal, bringing a fine diving save out of Isaksson.

 

68' The bearded Carlos Queiroz remains calm on the outside but he must be desperate for a goal. Failure to win this match will leave qualification for South Africa looking a distant possibility.  

 

65' On comes Hugo Almeida for Danny. Portugal have twenty-five minutes to score the all important goal.

 

61' A huge round of applause rings round the Estadio do Dragao as former FC Porto hero Deco enters the fray for Tiago.

 

58' Meireles fires in a shot from distance that goes over the bar  

 

57' Sweden make their first substitution. Wihelmsson comes on for Holmen.

 

54' Eduardo turns from villian to hero! The Braga goalkeeper races out to save bravely as Elmander looks certain to score.

 

53' Great chance spurned by Portugal!! Tiago threads a perfect ball through to Danny who blasts high and wide when he should have done far better.

 

51' Big scare for Portugal. Eduardo comes charging out of the six-yard box and gets nowhere near the ball. Larsson looks certain to score but Eduardo dives back to collect the ball, as the Swedish stiker is flagged for offside.  

 

50' Portugal continue to hit a brick wall in their attempts to cut through the Sweden defence. Deco and Hugo Almeida start to warm up.  

 

47' Danny has the first chance of the second half, twice getting into shooting positions but twice being crowded out by the Swedish rearguard.

 

 

Despite a bright performance from Portugal in the opening 45 minutes, Carlos Queiroz's side have failed to make the breakthrough. The Swedes have been practically inoffensive going forward but have looked solid at the back, with Majstorovic looking especially impressive. Both Portugal full-backs Duda and Bosingwa have supported the attack well, but the Chelsea defender was forced off at the end of the first half through injury.

 

45' + 1' Half time whistle goes with the scoreline goalless.  

 

44' Big blow for Portugal. Bosingwa, who was having a fine match, appears to pull a muscle and has to be substituted by Rolando.  

 

42' Portugal a whisker away from taking the lead! Magnificent quick passing move involving Meireles and Tiago ends with the Juventus midfielder setting up Simao who volleys just past the post with the goalkeeper beaten.

 

38' Pepe tries to burst into the box but is stopped by a strong challenge, with the referee waving away muted claims for a foul. The massive Majstorovic has so far been a insurmountable rock at the heart of the Swedish defence.

 

34' Sweden manage to stem the tide somewhat, but a surging Ronaldo run initiates another wave of attacks from Portugal. But the Scandanavians stand firm. News filters through that Hungary have won in Albania 1-0.

 

30' Carvalho lends his support to the attack, combining well with Bosingwa and winning a corner which comes to nothing. Bosingwa motors up the wing to win another corner. Portugal are turning the screw.

 

27' Sweden again cause danger with a free-kick crossed venemously into the box. The big centre-back rises highest and heads just over the bar.  

 

26' Real danger at the other end of the pitch. Elmander seems certain to burst through on goal but Ricardo Carvalho saves the day with a superb saving tackle.  

 

23' Portugal denied by the woodwork!!! Duda swings in a thunderous cross from the left flank and as the desperate Isaksson dives backwards the ball thuds back into play off the post.

 

20' Portugal come close again. Duda swings in a free-kick and the unmarked Bruno Alves heads towards goal but too close to the keeper. Good pressure from Portugal, with Duda again looking comfortable and confident at this level.  

 

17' Portugal come close to breaking the deadlock twice in quick succession. First Tiago gets a subtle touch on a Bosignwa cross which brings a sharp save out Isaksson, then Ronaldo bursts through on goal and chips just wide from a tight angle.  

 

14' Simao teases his marker and sets up Pepe for a terrific long-range shot that doesn't miss the angle of post of bar by much.  

 

10' Ronaldo gets in on the action. First the winger wins a corner on the right flank, and from the corner kick the Mancheser United man tries his luck but the ball deflects off a defender making it an easy take for the Sweden goalkeeper.

 

8' Good work from Bosingwa. The Chelsea full-back creates space for himself and shoots for goal but Isaksson collects comfortably. Meanwhile news filters through that Denmark have beaten Malta 3-0 in another Group One match. The Danes will be top of the group tonight no matter what the result here.  

 

5' Spell of pressure from Sweden. A corner is half-cleared and the ball falls at Holmen's feet who fires in a

powerful effort, but the ball flies high and wide.

 

3' Dangerous cross into the Portugal box. Eduardo comes out to claim the ball confidently.  

 

2' Good spell of quick passing by Portugal ends with a crunching challenge on Pepe, tonight playing as a defensive midfielder. Free-kick to the hosts, which comes to nothing.

 

The big news is midfield maestro Deco has lost his battle to be fit for the match. As expected Queiroz has kept faith with Duda at left-back after the Malaga man put in such an impressive performance against Finland in Portugal's last match, while Danny, Ronaldo and Simao will be the attacking threesome for the seleccao. Great atmosphere at the packed Estadio do Dragao as the teams get ready to kick off.

  

Starting line-ups

 

Portugal:

Eduardo, Bosingwa, Ricardo Carvalho, Bruno Alves, Duda, Pepe, Raul Meireles, Tiago, Danny, Cristiano Ronaldo, Simao Sabrosa

 

Sweden: 

Isaksson, Nilsson, Mellberg, Majstorovic, Johansson, Ramus Elm, Kallstrom, Svensson, Holmen, Henrik Larsson, Elmander

 

 

Yellow Card  Red Card  GOAL!!!!!!!!!! 

 

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