Edition 1453
09 December 2017
Edition: 1453

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European champions heading for Russia

by Chris Wright, in Sport · 12-10-2017 14:59:00 · 0 Comments

Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal confirmed their spot at next year’s World Cup finals with victory over Switzerland in a ‘winner-takes-all’ final group game at the Estádio da Luz in Lisbon on Tuesday night. 

European champions heading for Russia

In the penultimate game, away in little Andorra last Saturday, Ronaldo inspired Portugal to a 2-0 victory. 
The Real Madrid man was one booking away from being suspended for the concluding group game so was held back by manager Fernando Santos.
But after a goalless first-half, the 32-year-old came off the bench to score his fifteenth goal of the qualifying campaign from close range and then provided a cross from which André Silva added a late second to wrap up the points.
Against Switzerland anything less than a victory would have seen Portugal only qualify for the play-offs.
Portugal took the lead four minutes before the interval when Eliseu curled a dangerous cross into the box intended for João Mário, who collided with keeper Yann Sommer and Johan Djourou with the ball ricocheting off the defender and over the line for an own goal.
Manchester City new boy, Bernardo Silva, handed Ronaldo his first chance of a goal ten minutes after the break but Portugal’s talisman fired well wide of the target.
Two minutes later Bernardo Silva found more space inside Switzerland’s area to coolly feed André Silva at the back-post. The A.C. Milan striker was left free to tap-in his second goal in two games to decide the outcome. Portugal and France became the final two to join Germany, Serbia, Poland, England, Spain, Belgium and Iceland as group winners in European qualifying alongside hosts Russia.
Sweden, Greece and Switzerland finished as runners-up and will go into the hat with Italy, Denmark, Croatia, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland for next month’s two-legged play-offs.

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Edition 1453
09 December 2017
Edition: 1453

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

Twitter