Ronaldo nemesis outlines battle plan

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Football News

Denying Cristiano Ronaldo time and space by any means necessary is the key to success for Sweden in tomorrow night's World Cup showdown against Portugal, according to defensive stalwart Andreas Granqvist.

Sweden left for Lisbon today ahead of the first leg of a two-game decider against Portugal, with only once place up for grabs at next summer's South American showpiece.

Much of the pre-match discussion has revolved around the clash between Ballon d'Or contenders Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ronaldo, with Granqvist conceding that doubling up on the Real Madrid marksman will be essential for Sweden in their bid to emerge victorious over two legs.

He told Supersport: "If we can defend as a team and stay tight I think we can succeed. A key to our defence will be to have the nerve to get tight on him, maybe double up so that he doesn't get much time.

"Clearly he's one of the best players in the world and he's coming into this with great form. He's scored an awful lot of goals for Real Madrid, both in the Champions League and the league.

"If we get a good result it's clearly an advantage to play the second leg at home, but if we get a bad result away it's not that great. I prefer to play away in the first match, but we'll see what result we get."

The 28-year-old is a fighting for a starting spot in Sweden's central defence against Mikael Antonsson and Per Nilsson, as Erik Hamren's men look to formulate a successful plan to counteract Ronaldo across two games.

Ronaldo has been in exhilarating form for club and country so far this season, scoring 27 goals in 19 appearances for Madrid and Portugal, including three hat-tricks.

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World Cup
Andreas Granqvist
Cristiano Ronaldo
Real Madrid

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