In the European playoff that everyone was watching, Ronaldo took the advantage over Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring the lone goal in Portugal’s 1-0 win over Sweden. The big surprise was how Ukraine handled France 2-0. The second legs of these 2 matches as well as all other playoffs are next week and will determine the final teams for the 2014 World Cup.
Portugal was up and against history when the game kicked off at the Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica in Lisbon. They had never beaten Sweden at home and it looked as though that may continue until 8 minutes from fulltime.
Ronaldo made a diving effort to head home Miguel Veloso’s low cross from 8 yards out. The Real Madrid forward almost doubled the lead but another header knocked off the crossbar.
Ukraine held on in an ugly match to take a 2-0 victory over France at the NSK Olimpiysky Stadium. Roman Zozulya opened the scoring in the 61st minute and Andriy Yarmolenko added an insurance goal from the penalty spot in the 82nd minute. Laurent Koscielny conceded the penalty and then was shown a red card in injury time as frustrations came to a breaking point. Olexander Kucher picked up a 2nd yellow in the 5th minute of injury time for his sending off.
Iceland kept their hopes of being the smallest nation to qualify for the World Cup with their 0-0 draw to Croatia at Laugardalsvollur in Reykjavik. The home side had to bunker in after Ólafur Skúlason was shown red with 40 minutes left in the match.
Greece will feel good about their 3-1 win over Romania at the Stadio Georgios Karaiskakis. Kostas Mitroglou scored the 1st and 3rd goals with a goal in each half and Dimitris Salpingidis hit what would eventually be the winner. The goal that Greece surrendered was the first they allowed since March 22.