Review: 2014 FIFA World Cup – Qualifiers – Play-offs – UEFA – Second Leg
CROATIA- ICELAND 2-0
27′ Mandžukić , 47′ Srna
First Leg: Iceland - Croatia 0-0
Team qualified: Croatia.
Fairy tales usually end at the final hurdle, and Iceland made no ecception. Mario Mandžukić brought Croatia ahead at 27′, then he got an early red card at 38′ and that should have created a golden opportunity for Iceland to achieve an historic qualification, instead they looked too shy and afraid, conceded a second goal to Croatia at 47′ (captain Darijo Srna), never caused serious troubles to Croatia, that looked like the team playing one man up.
ROMANIA - GREECE 1-1
27′ Mitroglou – 55′ Torosidis (o.g.)
First Leg: Greece - Romania 1-0
Team qualified: Greece.
Second leg with no big worries for Greece, that almost ended Romanian hopes at 23′, when Kostantinos Mitroglou scored, again, thanks to a bad offside trap executed by the home defence. Then Greece controlled the match quite well and just conceded a crazy own goal from Vasilis Torosidis, that gave Romania the draw.
FRANCE - UKRAINE 3-0
22′ Sakho, 34′ Benzema, 72′ Sakho
First Leg: Ukraine – France 2-0
Team qualified: France.
France had the potential to reverse the result of the first match, and did it, managing not to concede any goal. France went up at 22′ with a goal from Mamadou Sakho, but Andriy Pyatov could have been better, then was disallowed a valid goal by the referee, and later scored its second one with Karim Benzema, but this time the goal should have been disallowed because of a clear offside. France quite dominated the First Half, and a red card awarded to Evgen Kacheridi at the beginning of Second Half made life much easier for them, the third goal was in the air and arrived at 72′ when, after a big opportunity wasted by Roman Zozulya for Ukraine, defender Mamadou Sakho scored again, becoming the hero of the match, as Liliam Thuram had been against Croatia at 1998 WC .
SWEDEN - PORTUGAL 2-3
68′, 72′ Ibrahimović – 50′, 77′, 79′ Cristiano Ronaldo
First Leg: Portugal - Sweden 1-0
Team qualified: Portugal.
The heading for this match is very easy: Ibrahimović – Cristiano Ronaldo 2-3. Before the first match we (Maxi Lozzo) said that usually Ibra is more decisive than Ronaldo when they play for NT, after the game we said that CR7 proved that we were wrong but Ibra could still have proved that we were right in the second leg. Well, Zlatan Ibrahimović did it and played a great game with two goals, but Cristiano Ronaldo was even better, scoring three (very similar) goals. The First Half ended with no goal, but the Second one has been one of the best possible advertising for football: Ronaldo scored at 50′ and Portugal was almost in Brazil, but later Ibrahimović opened the contest again with an header and a free kick. Five minutes later Cristiano Ronaldo capitalized two counterattacks, brought Portugal to WC and probably showed he deserves the Golden Ball. It will be a great great great loss for football not to see Zlatan Ibrahimović playing the World Cup.