World Cup play-offs: Chase in vain

World Cup play-offs: Chase in vain
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo (L) runs beside his teammate Pepe during a training session in Obidos November 14, 2013.

This is the pick of the World Cup play-offs - Portugal versus Sweden.

It's a pity that between Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, only one player will make it to Brazil.

Portugal have been perennial chokers on the world stage and I'm backing the Swedes to join the World Cup party next year. Here's why:

PORTUGAL ARE A ONE-MAN TEAM

It is on Cristiano Ronaldo's shoulders that Portugal's World Cup hopes rest. Sparkle, and the Portuguese will go to Brazil.

But if he misfires, as he often does with the national team, then Paulo Bento and his men will likely have to watch the tournament on TV.

The trouble with the Portuguese Peacock is that he is far too inconsistent when he is on international duty, and the accusations that he goes missing on the big stage are not exaggerated.

In the two Finals that he has featured in, he scored in only two games, and both came against minnows - Iran in 2006 and North Korea in 2010.

Coach Bento will take heart from the fact that Ronaldo is in fine form for club and country this season, having fired four hat-tricks. But will he produce the goods against the Swedes?

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