Sweden came close to bottling up Cristiano Ronaldo on Friday, but the Portugal superstar would not be denied.
His goal in the 82nd minute gave Portugal the 1-0 win in the first leg of this European World Cup qualifying playoff.
The second leg will be held in Sweden Tuesday and the Swedes were slight favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. The chalk line was +170 with Portugal slightly lower at +175 and a draw line of +240.
The Swedes have to feel good about the first leg, losing 1-0 since Portugal dominated the match. They won the time of possession battle 68 percent to 32 percent and had 13 more shots (19 to 6).
Based on those stats, they could be in a much deeper hole than just a single goal.
Ronaldo was frustrated for much of the match, but he had his chances and finally capitalized in the last 10 minutes. Mikael Lustig played terrific defense against Ronaldo, and if he can silence him completely Tuesday, the Swedes have a great chance to win at home.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the Swedes must move more aggressively to the attack in this match. The Paris St. Germain star must press the issue on offense and he'll need help from Ola Toivonen and Sebastian Larsson.
If Ibrahimovic is contained as he was in Portugal, Sweden will not be playing in Brazil next summer.
Sweden must also generate better control and chances out of the midfield. In the first leg, Joao Moutinho not only controlled that area of the field, but played solid back-line defense as well.
Three other matches take place in European qualifying Tuesday. Romania is trying to dig out of a 3-1 hole against the Greeks, while the French need a huge performance after losing 2-0 in Kiev against Ukraine.
Elsewhere, Croatia is home after a scoreless draw in Iceland. The World Cup odds favored Croatia, Greece and France as of Monday afternoon.
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