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Bet on Zlatan to strike first for Sweden against Portugal

| 19.11.2013

There’s guaranteed heartbreak in store for one of the two world-class stars competing for a 2014 World Cup berth at the Friends Arena, as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Cristiano Ronaldo line-up for Sweden and Portugal in Stockholm.

The betting for this match couldn’t be tighter, with both sides priced up at 17/10 for victory and a draw that would suit the Portuguese just fine available at 23/10.

Ronaldo and co come into this match with a 1-0 lead, after the Real Madrid phenomenon’s 82nd-minute winner in Lisbon.

Sweden have to start brightly if they are to stand any chance of overturning that deficit and Ibrahimovic’s ability to fashion a goal from anywhere makes him a standout bet at 4/1 to bag the opener.

The much-travelled maverick managed at least one strike in three of his last four 2014 World Cup qualifying Group C appearances and smashed four past Norway in a friendly at the start of this season.

At PSG, Zlatan has responded to the pressure put on his place by £55m signing Edinson Cavani by scoring 15 goals in 16 appearances this term, bagging braces, hat-tricks and another four-goal haul all since the start of October.

The 32-year-old will be desperate for another crack at what would likely be his last World Cup, having appeared in Korea and Japan in 2002 and Germany in 2006.

However, Portugal have only lost by more than a single goal once in their last 21 games and that was against Brazil.

They are 1/4 favourites to qualify after keeping Sweden off the scoresheet in Lisbon and even a 1-goal defeat will see Paulo Bento’s side through if they can notch one of their own.

Ronaldo is the 3/1 jolly to strike first and 8/11 to score at any time in the match, as he has on 15 out of 20 occasions for club and country since the start of this term.