Arsène Wenger

Ronaldo’s Portugal have edge over Ibrahimovic’s Sweden

Arsene Wenger

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Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be compared with each other when Portugal play Sweden in the first leg of their World Cup play-off on Friday. But first I'd compare the two teams and I think that Portugal are the stronger side.

Their team is more complete, maybe also with more creativity, and, on the whole, I would say that they are the favourites.

I don't have a preference regarding the two players. My only preference is football - that the team who deserves it the most wins. But it’s true that a World Cup without Ibrahimovic or Ronaldo will have something missing.

France will be the favourites against Ukraine for two reasons: first, they have more international level players than Ukraine; second, they will play at home in the return leg, so they’ll know exactly what they will have left to do.

You hope that, for once, all the country will be behind the French team. But let’s be cautious: there are players like Konoplyanka and Yarmolenko who can be very, very dangerous on the counter-attack in Paris.

This team has found a new spirit and attacking solidarity; I don't think they have lost for the last eight games. So don't count your chickens before they're hatched. France have to concentrate on stopping Konoplyanka and Yarmolenko.

Croatia are a team who have suffered and just got rid of their coach, Igor Stimac. Iceland, who they face in the play-offs, are a bit of a surprise outfit.

In the U21 fixtures, France didn’t win easily against Iceland, whereas 10 years ago there was a huge difference. So these countries are working; they are producing players with strong technical potential, and naturally have a sort of educational team solidarity. So it will be harder for Croatia than we might think.

I congratulate you if you are able to give me a favourite between Romania and Greece; for me, it really is 50/50.

I think that Romania have a tradition of playing a lot, starting with the defence, and that Greece maybe have a European 'grinta', or determination.

Just like the typical South American grinta, Greece might be the team which, when they have their back to the wall, always find an efficiency that we usually wouldn’t credit them with.

The Greeks are always hard to beat because they have a very strong defence.

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