Published January 13, 2015
Nyon, Switzerland (SportsNetwork.com) - If Portugal is going to reach the 2014 World Cup in Brazil it will have to beat Sweden in a two-legged playoff after the two sides were drawn together on Monday in the playoff draw for the UEFA region.
Portugal's playoff with Sweden will pit two of the world's top talents against each other as Cristiano Ronaldo leads Portugal against Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Portugal manager Paulo Bento knows his team faces a tough task in Sweden, but he is also confident that they will find a way to punch their ticket to Brazil.
"It's going to be a very even playoff against Sweden," Bento told Eurosport. "They do have Zlatan, after all, but it's not only him they are a strong team overall. They've been many times in the final phases of major tournaments so we need to find the best way possible to reach our goal. It is a difficult tie, but we are sure that we will be in Brazil next year."
The other three playoff matchups feature France meeting Ukraine, Iceland battling Croatia and Greece facing Romania.
France finished second to Spain in its group and the team is the only one in the playoff field to have won a World Cup, while Ukraine put together a strong qualifying campaign in finishing behind England in its group.
Iceland is attempting to reach its first ever World Cup and got a relatively kind draw with Croatia, which recently fired manager Igor Stimac.
Greece is attempting to reach its second straight World Cup after qualifying in 2010 and will have to do so at the expense of Romania, which last reached the World Cup in 1998.
The first leg of each playoff will take place on Nov. 15 with the second leg following four days later on Nov. 19.