Portugal vs. Sweden: Best and Worst Performers in World Cup Playoff 1st Leg

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistNovember 16, 2013

LISBON, PORTUGAL - NOVEMBER 15:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal dives to head the only goal ahead of Martin Olsson of Sweden during the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier Play-off First Leg between Portugal and Sweden at Estadio da Luz on November 15, 2013 in Lisbon, Portugal.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

In what was billed as the decisive meeting between Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Portugal managed to walk out of their World Cup playoff first-leg meeting against Sweden as 1-0 victors.

Paulo Bento's side now take the advantage back to Stockholm, where on Tuesday they'll seek to close the deal and book their spot at next summer's tournament in Brazil.

That being said, the first 90 minutes of this two-way encounter showed spectators that there is indeed so much more to the fixture than just Ibrahimovic and Ronaldo.

All statistics are courtesy of WhoScored.com.

 

Best: Joao Moutinho

In a tense game that made it difficult for even the finer players on the pitch to open up, Joao Moutinho showed his class as the one playmaker able to get some joy in his playmaking attempts.

L'VIV, UKRAINE - JUNE 09:  Joao Moutinho of Portugal in action during the UEFA EURO 2012 group B match between Germany and Portugal at Arena Lviv on June 9, 2012 in L'viv, Ukraine.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

The Monaco man completed 67 passes on the night, the most of any player who featured, four of which were key passes and earned Moutinho some man-of-the-match worthy statistics.

It's something Portugal are used to, given Opta's stats breakdown on his performances throughout qualifying:

Not only did the 27-year-old shine in a passing sense, but he was a menace in defence, too, recording four tackles, the most of any Portuguese player.

 

Worst: Kim Kallstrom

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN - FEBRUARY 06:  Kim Kallstrom of Sweden in action during the International Friendly match between Sweden and Argentina at the Friends Arena on February 6, 2013 in Stockholm, Sweden.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

This could have been an occasion where Kim Kallstrom stepped up and took a leading hand in how his side progressed to next year's World Cup; instead, it was a bashful affair.

Sweden's 106-times capped anchorman was nowhere to be found, taking just 36 touches of the ball and finishing with a pass accuracy of 68 percent.

The 31-year-old Kallstrom was also the only one of Sweden's starting midfield line-up not to register a tackle against the Portuguese, with an interception and one clearance being his only defensive contributions alongside Rasmus Elm.

 

Best: Cristiano Ronaldo

Via 101GreatGoals.com

If it were indeed a battle between Ibra and CR7, then it was Real Madrid's superstar who finished on top of the first meeting, heading the vital winner in the dying minutes to give his side a lead going to the Friends Arena.

In truth, Ronaldo would have had more asked of him as he struggled to get into the game at times, despite the best probing efforts of Raul Meireles, Miguel Veloso and Moutinho.

However, all the forward will be remembered for on this occasion is the good he did in the end—and what good it was, setting his side on the way to Rio.