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Oct 21, 2013

Ibrahimovic urges Sweden caution

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has warned that Sweden must minimise their mistakes if they are to have any chance of qualifying for the World Cup. 

Delaney: Opportunity knocks
SPI projections

Ibrahimovic, 32, was speaking after his country were paired with Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal in next month's playoffs. 

The Paris Saint-Germain striker scored a crucial goal in Sweden’s 2-1 qualifying win over Austria earlier this month -- a victory that sealed his side's second-place finish behind Germany in Group C. 

And Ibrahimovic knows he will be expected to raise his game once again for what is the standout tie of the playoffs. 

"Portugal are favourites but they are going to be two fantastic matches," he told AFP after the draw was made in Zurich. "We're playing against a good team with many good players. Playoff matches are like two finals -- it's completely different from group matches. 

"I think we have to reduce our errors and the team who makes the most will miss the World Cup."

Sweden travel to Portugal for the first leg on Nov. 15 and will be hoping to make home advantage count in Stockholm during the return match on Nov. 19. 

Portugal coach Paulo Bento, meanwhile, is concerned by the threat Ibrahimovic poses.

He said in statement: “We have two tough games against a side that, as well as having one of the best strikers in the world, plays well as a team.

“Sweden finished second in a group that contained Germany, one of the contenders to win the whole tournament. The key is to be prepared, and to be confident that we have a real chance of reaching the finals.”

Information from the Press Association was used in this report

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