Posted: 11/21/2013


     The new FRIENDS ARENA in Stockholm proved very friendly indeed for the Match of the Day, the second leg of ZLATAN v CR7 with the prize being a trip to FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014.

     For the fourth time in a row the Portuguese get to go to the finals with a one man show, a hat trick from Cristiano Ronaldo, after his one matchl winning goal in the first leg at Estadio da Luz 4 days earlier.

     After a first half stalemate under the roof there was real optimism amog the yellow and blue draped fans, but it was always going to be a matter of first goal wins, and Cris was the marksman with an angled drive to put the visitors two goals ahead on aggregate.

     Two quick replies from Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the stadium where he scored four against England to mark its opening not so long ago brought renewed hope of victory until The Galactico striker scored two more to seal victory. All 5 goals were scored in a 29 minute burst and at 34 years old Zlatan will probably never star in a World Cup final tournament.

    Bruno Alves took control and orchestrated the Selecao's deserved victory on a night of drama across Europe.  France, whos players were supported by only 15% of the country after a tale of woe starting with South Africa 2010 fought back from a two goal deficit in Ukraine to triumph 3-0 in Stade de France in St. Denis and seal a play in the last 32 for Les Blues.  Croatia took care of plucky Iceland in Zagreb, with some Nazi salutes at the final whistle, while 2004 European Champions Greece drew 1-1 in Bucharest to eliminate Romania.

    All 32 places are now filled with Mexico triumphing over New Zealand in Wellington and Uruguay  celebrating after a 0-0 draw in Estadio Centenario over Jordan, who they had thrashed 5-0 in Amman.

    No suprises in Africa who have the same five nations that represented the continent in 2010: Algeria, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Cameroon.  The Draw is December 6th in Bahia, North-East Brazil.