Review: 2014 FIFA World Cup – Qualifiers – Play-offs – UEFA – First Leg
ICELAND – CROATIA 0-0
Attendance: 12.000 (sold out)
This is a golden draw for Iceland, considering that they had played down to ten man since 50’ because Ólafur Ingi Skúlason (SV Zulte-Waregem) was sent off atfer a last man foul, and they didn’y concede any goal. The match has been played in front of a very loud crowd, about an Icelandic person on 25 was at the stadium. For the second leg Croatia is maybe still a little bit favourite, but now both a win and a draw will be good for Iceland to qualify, because the away goal rule is on their side, and they could play on counterattacks.
PORTUGAL – SWEDEN 1-0
82’ Cristiano Ronaldo.
Attendance: 64.000 (sold out)
Very precious win for Portugal, that won the match in the final minutes thanks to an header from its best player. Considering that they didn’t concede any goal, if Portugal managed to score just once in Stockholm, they would probably be certain to go to Brazil. In a previous post we (Maxi Lozzo) wrote that when they play with their National Teams, Zlatan Ibrahimović is usually more decisive than Cristiano Ronaldo, and obviously the Portuguese immediately proved that we were wrong, but Zlatan has still one match at home to prove that we were right.
UKRAINE – FRANCE 2-0
61’ Zozulya, 83’ rig./p.k. Yarmolenko.
Ukraine difficultly could have been happier after the home game, and is in an envidiable position for the second leg. France could have the potential to reverse this result at home, but Ukraine isn’t the weakest of the opponents, and if they managed to score just once, it would be over for France. Laurent Koscielny’s and Oleksandr Kucher’s red cards didn’t influence the game at all, because they were awarded in the added time.
Greece – Romania 3-1
14’ Mitroglou, 20’ Salpingidis, 67’ Mitroglou – 19’ Stancu.
Greece conceded a goal, and Greece scored three goals in a game, we can’t decide which news is the biggest one. Anyway Greece can be satisfied of the result, that shows quite faithfully the different value of the teams, and they should be able to defend their advantage quite easily against a team that surely isn’t stronger than them, considering that Georgios Karagounis’s side has a very good defensive phase, but anyway Romania has still few chanches to qualify thanks to the away goal they scored in Athens, and in the return leg events like an early red card or a penalty kick could alter the balance of the match. Almost everything happened in the first 20 minutes, Greece scored twice and Romania once. In the second half Kostantinos Mitroglou scored his second goal of the game, confirming his wonderful moment.