One of the footballing world’s biggest stars is set to miss out on next summer’s World Cup as Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal were drawn against Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s Sweden in next month’s qualifiers.
In what is guaranteed to be the tie of the round, which will be played over two legs, the 1966 semi-finalists take on the 1958 runners-up for the right to compete in Brazil in 2014.
Portugal will go into the tie as favourites with Manchester United’s Nani also in the squad, but will know they are in for a tough task against a Swedish side who draw 4-4 with Germany last year.
Sweden finished second behind the Germans in Group C while the Portuguese were forced to settle for the qualifiers after surprisingly failing to usurp Russia at the top of Group F.
In the other three ties, France were pitted against Ukraine, who draw with England home and away in Group H, and whom will pose a stern challenge for Didier Deschamps’s men.
Meanwhile, unseeded Iceland have a great chance of qualifying for their first ever World Cup Finals after being drawn against Croatia, arguably the weakest of the four seeded sides.
Greece will take on Romania in the final qualifier, which are to be played on November 15 and 19, with the first team drawn at home in the first leg.
The draw in full:
Portugal v Sweden
Ukraine v France
Greece v Romania
Croatia v Iceland
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This article was first posted on October 21, 2013