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Sweden to face Portugal in World Cup play-off

Updated: Monday, 21 Oct 2013 20:13 | Comments

Sweden must get past Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo if they are to make the party in Brazil next summer
Sweden must get past Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo if they are to make the party in Brazil next summer

One of football's superstars is certain to miss out on the World Cup next year after Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal side were drawn against Zlatan Ibrahimovic's Sweden in the European play-offs for next year's finals.

Portugal v Sweden is the pick of the four ties, which will be played over two legs, while unseeded France will face a tough battle against Ukraine.

Portugal will go into the play-offs as favourites with stars such as Real Madrid's Ronaldo and Manchester United's Nani, but they struggled in what had looked a straightforward qualifying group, finishing runners-up to Russia.

Sweden recorded a draw against Germany and wins against the Republic of Ireland and Austria in qualifications, and are more than capable of causing a surprise, especially with Paris St Germain forward Ibrahimovic in the side.

Iceland will bid to make their first ever World Cup after being drawn against seeded Croatia, while unseeded Romania will face Greece.

The two-legged play-offs are to be played on 15 and 19 November to decide the four remaining European teams to go to the World Cup in Brazil next summer.

Following the play-offs, the rankings for Euro 2016 qualification will be confirmed by UEFA at the executive committee meeting taking place on 13 December.

The manner in which these rankings will be allocated has yet to be decided. Until then Ireland's ranking is unclear.

The draw for the World Cup play-offs from the European zone is:

Portugal v Sweden

Ukraine v France

Greece v Romania

Iceland v Croatia. 

The first legs will be played on 15 November with the return legs on 19 November.

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