Published: Wed, October 11, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Portugal beat Switzerland to qualify for World Cup as France seal progress

Portugal beat Switzerland to qualify for World Cup as France seal progress

The Swiss were cool and comfortable for the first half hour, stringing together some neat moves in midfield, while Portugal were let down by poor crossing and struggled to get the ball to Ronaldo.

The two countries finished level on 19 points, behind Group A winners France, but Sweden finished second on goal difference. The Swiss defense had no idea how to deal with a cross by Eliseu, smashed into each other, and the ball bounced off Johan Djourou into his own net.

Ronaldo embarked on a slaloming run across the edge of the Switzerland box and there was fury when referee Cuneyt Cakir remained unmoved as he went to ground under increasingly desperate challenges.

Portugal almost took the lead just five minutes later when Bernardo Silva broke inside the area and blasted a shot towards goal, only for Sommer to palm the ball away at the near post. "With Cristiano, it's obvious our team is even more valuable".

It had seemed all match that the referee was too incompetent to make the correct calls or he was afraid to make them on a night which meant so much to both teams. The goalkeeper pushed it onto Djourou, who could do little about the own goal.

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But with Ronaldo - who on Monday was again nominated for the Ballon d'Or award he won in 2016 - back fit and firing having scored against Andorra last week, Pepe is confident Portugal are ready to pip the visitors to an automatic qualifying spot, which they will secure with a win.

Switzerland will also prove hard opponents-they are yet to drop even a point in qualifying so far, having won all nine matches.

The away side now needed to score twice to progress, but they never really managed to create anything from open play and only managed to test keeper Rui Patricio once the whole match, which in truth, was probably one of the easiest games he's had between the sticks.

There are four more European places up for grabs, with eight nations - Sweden, Switzerland, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Denmark, Italy, Greece and Croatia - taking part in two-legged play-offs.

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