Larsson and Edman up against Ronaldo
Portugal host Sweden in Porto tomorrow in a crucial encounter that might determine Cristiano Ronaldoâ€™s World Cup fate.
The Portuguese have no right to make any mistake. A crushing victory is very much needed if Portugal want to boost their chances of qualifying and respond to the fansâ€™ embarrassment.
Despite Ibrahimovicâ€™s absence from the squad through suspension, it looks like things will still be tough for the Seleccao. (See video of Sweden v Portugal, first leg)
Swedenâ€™s iconic number 7 Henrik Larsson is already targeting Cristiano Ronaldo, branding him with the name â€œdiverâ€.
“I intend to speak with the referee before the match to warn him about Ronaldo diving,” Larsson told The Daily Mail in Portugal.
“We must be careful, as a team, not to get caught out by that, but so must the referee. I will be having a word with him and telling him to keep an eye out for it.”
Depending on the impact these words might have on the referee, Portugal will surely have to deal with controversy.
One other person too that Cristiano Ronaldo will have to avoid is Wiganâ€™s Edman. The defender â€“ who has been relegated to Wigan reserves â€“ might take this opportunity to prove his worth.
“I am happy to be here, because I have had this week to convince him that I should play,â€ Edman declared to Fotbolls Expressen.
“I want to play â€“ I have felt good in training at Wigan. I donâ€™t need to do any extra running or anything, but I am missing first-team football. I donâ€™t know if I will play [against Portugal].
“Iâ€™m a little bit confused about what Lasse and [assistant coach] Roland [Andersson] are thinking, but they want to keep the players, the media and Portugal guessing. They are good at keeping you in the dark.”
He continued: “You go in and you do what you can. That is what it is all about. He doesnâ€™t just play on the wings â€“ he floats around, moves in to collect the ball. He does whatever he likes.
“Itâ€™s important that you restrict his opportunities to go one-on-one with you. He is dangerous there, but then Simao, Bosingwa and Nani are too.
“Ronaldo is like Zlatan [Ibrahimovic]. He can suddenly do something and then â€“ bang! â€“ your afternoon is destroyed.”
This is what Portuguese fans are hoping for: a typical Cristiano Ronaldo performance.
Written by: Angela Asante