The scoreboard said Sweden 2 – Portugal 3 but in reality all that mattered over the two legs was Cristiano Ronaldo 4 – Zlatan Ibrahimovic 2. The star for each team did all the work with Ronaldo coming out on top. The Real Madrid man scored the lone goal in the first leg and broke-out with a hat-trick in Sweden. The forward used his skill to make perfectly timed runs and pace on each goal.
The tie was closer than the final scoreline would suggest, however. Ibrahimovic scored with goals in the 68th and 72 minutes. The goals gave the home fans hope until Ronaldo broke out with his final two goals in the 77th and 79th minutes.
France made history when they became the first team to overturn a 2-0 first leg deficit in a World Cup play-off to make it to the quadrennial tournament. Les Bleus leveled matters with goals from Mamadou Sakho and Karim Benzem over the first 34 minutes and then watched as Ukraine imploded. Yehven Khacheridi was dismissed after picking up a second yellow card in the 47th minute and then substitute Oleh Gussev scoring an own-goal to account for the difference.
The win sees France going to their 9th consecutive major international tournament. They last missed out on a World Cup in 1994.
After being unable to breakdown a 10-man Iceland in the first leg, Croatia took care of business at home with a 2-0 win. Ironically, the home side played 52+ minutes with 10-men after Mario Mandzukic saw red in the 38th minute. The Bayern Munich forward was part of the win, scoring the opening goal in the 27th minute. Darijo Srna sealed it with his goal in the 47th minute.
Greece booked their spot at the World Cup with a 1-1 draw to Romania which gave them a 4-2 aggregate win.
Algeria booked their place in Brazil with a 1-0 win over Burkina Faso. The Fennec Foxes lost the first leg 3-2 on the road so knew going in that a single home goal would be enough to see them through. Madjid Bougherra got the needed goal in the 49th minute on a scramble in front of goal after a great service from a set piece.
Burkina Faso looked to grab the equalizer with one attempt slamming off the post from a corner kick in injury time.
Algeria has played in 3 previous World Cups – 1982, 1986, and 2010. Burkina Faso has never qualified for the World Cup finals.
Egypt did their best reverse the 6-1 first leg loss to Ghana grabbing an early 1-0 lead in the 24th minute but it was all close calls until they added a second in the 84th minute and it was too little too late. The Black Stars scored a goal in the 89th minute to make the final score 2-1 and on aggregate 7-3.
The two remaining berths at the Brazil 2014 are all but determined but the games will be played later tonight and tomorrow. Mexico holds a 5-1 lead over New Zealand after the first leg at Azteca Stadium last week. They kick-off at 1 am ET on Wednesday on ESPN. Uruguay holds a 5-0 advantage over Jordan and are returning home for the second leg. The match is on BeIN at 6 pm ET.