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Portugal to Face Sweden, France to Meet Ukraine in World Cup Playoffs

  • ESPN FC, Monday, October 21, 2013 2:18 PM

Portugal on Monday was paired with Sweden in FIFA’s draw for the UEFA 2014 World Cup playoffs, while France will meet Ukraine, Greece faces Romania, and Iceland will have to get past Croatia if it is to appear in its first World Cup finals.

Following the draw, Portugal coach Paulo Bento told Eurosport: "It's going to be a very even playoff against Sweden. They do have Zlatan [Ibrahimovic], 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."

Iceland coach Lars Lagerback reflected on the prospect of facing Croatia: "It's very exciting for us to play two matches against Croatia,” he said. “They have a good team, but we will give it our best and we have everything to gain. We might need a bit of luck but we hope to be able to create our own."

Meanwhile, France coach Didier Deschamps said his team’s series vs. Ukraine, "will be difficult, Ukraine are a good team. To be at home for the second game is very important. The fact we've met recently won't have a factor, all we have to do is give it our best and we have to respect them."

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