Zlatan Ibrahimovic Sweden
Zlatan Ibrahimovic and his Sweden side fell just short against Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal. Reuters

Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Cristiano Ronaldo cut contrasting figures after the final whistle following their epic clash on Tuesday night.

Ronaldo fired a stunning hat-trick to help Portugal past Ibrahimovic's Sweden in the World Cup Qualifying Playoffs, a result which meant, Ronaldo would be travelling to Brazil next summer to take part in the 2014 World Cup, while Ibrahimovic will be left to ponder what might have been.

The Real Madrid forward's immense ability to score, at the end of the day, proved to be the decisive factor, netting all four goals in the tie that Portugal won 4-2.

The Ronaldo vs Ibrahimovic matchup lived up to its billing, with Sweden's two goals in the two-legged tie coming from Ibrahimovic, both in the second leg.

Ibrahimovic, at the peak of his powers at 32, could not hide his disappointment at missing out on the World Cup, and admitted this might have been his final chance to showcase his skills at the highest stage of them all.

"It was probably the last attempt to reach the World Cup with the national team for me," he said on his app Zlatan Unplugged. "One thing is for sure, a World Cup without me is nothing to watch so it is not worthwhile to wait for the World Cup.

"Congratulations to Portugal, but both teams deserved to get to the World Cup.

"The disappointment of course is great now that the World Cup in Brazil will remain a dream for the Swedish national team."

Ronaldo refused to be drawn out on the contest between himself and Ibrahimovic, instead choosing to concentrate on the end result - a passage for Portugal to the World Cup.

"I do not compete against Zlatan," he told TV4. "He is a fantastic player and the biggest star in Sweden, but I do not compete against him. I play for my team."

The Real Madrid superstar, with his three goals on the night, drew level with Pauleta for Portugal's all-time scoring record with 47. However, Ronaldo played down that particular achievement, saying he was just happy to do his job for the team when they needed him.

"Records are there to be beaten. It was not a priority," he said to Publico. "I knew that Portugal needed me. I do not have to prove anything to anyone. I try to do my work and give answers on the pitch.

"I did my job for my team. It is the team who have to be congratulated. We suffered for sure but that is how great teams win things. We retreated a little [when Sweden scored], but then we were better and we played better."

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