World Cup playoff previews


Ronaldo to see Portugal through

MUCH of the talk leading into this game was of the duel between Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The first leg saw Portugal triumph with Ronaldo scoring the solitary goal in a 1-0 win.

With the return leg being played in Stockholm all the pressure is now on Sweden and Ibrahimovic to deliver. Sweden struggled to defeat any of their main opponents in the group stages at home. They lost to Germany and drew with Ireland. Their only victories on Swedish soil came against Kazakhstan, Austria and the Faroe Islands.

Meanwhile Portugal only lost once on the road in the qualifying stages. In that time they also managed to score 11 goals in five games. If Portugal can score even one goal tonight then Sweden will have to score three.

With Ronaldo in imperious form we can see Portugal getting the goal they need and see them through to the World Cup.

Forecast:  Portugal to go through

Croatian firepower to overcome Iceland’s resilience

The unheralded Iceland held Croatia to a scoreless draw in the first leg of this World Cup playoff. The Croats could not break down the Icelanders who played much of the game with 10 men.

Croatia is the overwhelming favourite to win but their home record suggests that the Iceland team is not without hope. Croatia lost two of their five home group matches.

Iceland on the other hand lost only one away game in the group stages. Indeed they scored in four of their five games on the road.

However with players such as Luka Modric and Eduardo Croatia have greater scoring ammunition in their ranks. Iceland’s defence was weak in the group stages conceding 15 goals in 10 games and that is why we think Croatia will narrowly triumph tonight.

Forecast: Croatia to go through

John Lillis


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