PORTUGAL left it until the last game but managed to finally top their group and qualify for the World Cup thanks to a 2-0 win against Switzerland.
An own-goal from ex-Arsenal man Johan Djourou and an Andre Silva strike secured victory for Fernando Santos’ side, while knocking Switzerland down into second spot for a qualifier.
The Swiss had topped their Group B since seeing off the Portuguese in the opener, but tonight it all went very wrong.
Portugal dominated the early proceedings, and could have gone ahead after just six minutes, but Andre Silva saw an effort deflect just wide.
Switzerland were clearly going to rely on the counter-attack early doors, and despite looking dangerous through Ricardo Rodriguez and striker Haris Seferovic, their final ball was poor.
The first flashpoint in the game came on 25 minutes when Portugal’s Andre Silva lunged in late on former Arsenal defender Johan Djourou.
Incredibly the referee didn’t even brandish a yellow card as Djourou hobbled off for medical attention.
The Swiss were even more irate two minutes later when Remo Freuler was harshly shown a yellow card for handball.
On the half-hour mark, Portugal were lucky not to concede a penalty.
Eliseu clearly bundled over Seferovic in the box, but the referee waved play on.
Portugal immediately attacked and Swiss keeper Sommer expertly parried Andre Silva’s strike over the bar.
Cristiano Ronaldo was quiet up top, which will have pelased Switzerland.
But despite the nullifying of Portugal’s star man, Switzerland fell behind four minutes before half-time – and it was one they’d like to forget.
Eliseu fired over a delicious cross that Sommer dived bravely at the feet of Mario, but the ball bounced up, hit Djourou and bundled over the line.
INTERACTIVE STATS – CLICK on the categories to find out how the teams fared
Switzerland made a change at the brake as Freuler was replaced Denis Zakaria, possibly as he was teetering on the edge with his yellow card.
But it didn’t have the desired effect as Switzerland fell two goals behind on 56 minutes.
Portugal worked the ball neatly into the box and Manchester City man Bernardo Silva squared into Andre Silva who fired home.
The rest of the game saw Portugal dominate possession, as Switzerland seemed to accept the game was up, and they would have the lottery of a play-off.
More to follow…
INTERACTIVE LINE-UPS– CLICK on a player’s number below to see their stats
Ronaldo himself had a great chance to add some gloss to the scoreline, but he saw an effort well blocked 15 minutes from time.
But ultimately it was Fernando Santos’ side celebrating as the final whistle went, and football fans should be happy to they will get to see one of the best ever on the world stage next summer.
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