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World Cup playoff: 'If Sweden stop Ronaldo, others will score'

November 19, 2013 10:34 IST

World Cup playoff: 'If Sweden stop Ronaldo, others will score'

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If Sweden succeed in shackling Cristiano Ronaldo other players will step up and score, Portugal coach Paolo Bento said on the eve of the second leg of their World Cup playoff.

Bento is confident his team, leading 1-0 from the first leg, can conjure goals from sources other than their prolific captain.

"I think it will be a similar situation to our own, when we try to stop the organisation of Sweden and us having in mind of course trying to stop (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic," he told a news conference on Monday.

"There is no way to stop a single player, we have to do it collectively. I think Swede will also try to stop Ronaldo as a team, but what we will try to do is attack well, not only counting on Ronaldo of course.

"If there is a special marking on Ronaldo that may give us an opportunity to score from other players and zones on the pitch."


Image: Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo (right) takes part in a training session at the Friends Arena in Stockholm
Photographs: Pontus Lundahl/Reuters

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'We have to wait and see what Sweden will do'

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Portugal lead the tie thanks to a goal from Ronaldo, who bravely dived in among flying boots to notch a late winner in Lisbon.

Sweden captain Zlatan was largely anonymous in the first leg but Bento again downplayed the role of the two marquee players, saying that the match was a clash between two national teams with great mutual respect.

"We respect the Swedish national team a lot, they've got an excellent group of players and of course they've got Ibrahimovic, everybody knows his quality.

"But we will try to do as we did in the first game and try to control Sweden as a whole, and not only a single player."

Bento said that his side would be going for victory at the sold-out Friends Arena in Stockholm as they attempt to book their place at the World Cup finals in Brazil.

"We have to wait and see what Sweden will do, (but) we will try to win," he said. "Our strategy tomorrow is to go out and win the match and we will have to attack as well as we can to achieve that goal."


Image: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Photographs: Martin Rose/Getty Images

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Defiant Herbert not ready to give up

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New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert has refused to countenance suggestions he is under more pressure than ever and his job could possibly end after his side's 2014 World Cup playoff against Mexico on Wednesday.

The CONCACAF heavyweights hold a 5-1 advantage following the first leg at the Azteca last week and if the All Whites are unable to win the return leg at Wellington Regional Stadium by at least 4-0 then Herbert's contract will end.

New Zealand Football chairman Frank van Hattum has already said the organisation would likely advertise the All Whites' job should their World Cup ambitions disappear on Wednesday.

"We'll see, that certainly hasn't been agreed yet, by any stretch," Herbert said when asked if he was viewing the match as his farewell.

Herbert has been in the spotlight over the past week following the Azteca loss and after a bizarre outburst following that game in which he criticised people for not giving him enough credit for taking the team to the 2010 World Cup finals.


Image: New Zealand Manager Ricki Herbert speaks to embers of his team during their training session
Photographs: Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

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