Portugal get Sweden test in WCup playoffs


Zurich — Continental giants Portugal and Sweden were drawn together in the pick of the World Cup qualifying play-offs in Europe when the draw was made by football’s governing body FIFA on Monday.

Former champions France were given a favourable pairing as they travel to Ukraine for the first leg on November 15 while Greece will host Romania and Croatia play their first leg in Iceland.

Former World Cup semi-finalists Portugal and Sweden were the first two countries pulled out of the hat as Cristiano Ronaldo will defy Zlatan Ibrahimovic in what will be a battle of star-studded line-ups.

Didier Deschamps’ French side, who were narrowly beaten to top spot in their pool by defending champions Spain, travel to the Euro 2012 co-hosts where they defeated Ukraine 2-0 in group play.

Romania are bidding to return to the final stages for the first time since 1998 and will fancy their chances against goal-shy Greece, who were beaten to top spot in their pool by Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Finally, Iceland look to qualify for the first time in their history against a Croatia side coming off back to back defeats against Scotland and in the midst of a managerial change.

The second leg will be on November 19 with the four winners qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil from June 12 to July 13.

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