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Portugal book World Cup berth with Switzerland win

Cristiano Ronaldo was unable to score, but his teammates upped their game on Tuesday night!

SNS | New Delhi |

Portugal produced an all-round display to comprehensively beat Switzerland 2-0 in their final World Cup qualifying game to book their seat at next year’s showpiece event.

The 2016 UEFA Euro champions needed a win to ensure top-spot and clinched three points thanks to a Johan Djourou own goal in the 41st minute and an Adrien Silva strike three minutes before the hour-mark.

Portugal Football, World Cup Qualifiers, Portugal vs Switzerland
Portugal’s starting XI for the night! (Photo: AFP)

 

Captain and talisman Cristiano Ronaldo started for the host nation but despite suffering a rare-off day, his country pulled through thanks to the strength of their collective effort.

Portugal Football, World Cup Qualifiers, Portugal vs Switzerland , Cristiano Ronaldo
Portugal’s all-time top scorer was unable to find the back of the net for once! (Photo: AFP)

 

Switzerland never truly got into the game and Portuguese keeper Rui Patricio was a virtual bystander for almost the entirety of the 90 minutes at the Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica.

Portugal pressed for an opener from the off and Bernardo Silva stung Yann Sommer’s palms with a fierce volley early on.

Ronaldo was desperate to score the goal that would calm nerves and had a genuine penalty shout turned down when the Swiss left-back handled inside the box but Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir was having none of it.

The European champions would eventually find the opener four minutes from half-time when Eliseu’s cross from the left caused a panic inside the Switzerland box and former Arsenal defender Djourou inadvertently turned the ball into his own net.

Portugal Football, World Cup Qualifiers, Portugal vs Switzerland , Joao Mario
Joao Mario’s presence inside the box proved to be telling as Switzerland scored an own goal! (Photo: AFP)

 

Post the interval, Switzerland put in a marginally better performance but all their efforts were speculative long-rangers, which Patricio dealt with ease.

Adrien Silva, who completed a high-profile move to AC Milan in the summer, would eventually seal the deal with a close-range strike in the 57th minute after some good work from Bernardo Silva on the right wing.

Portugal Football, World Cup Qualifiers, Portugal vs Switzerland, Adrien Silva
The young forward celebrate with a ‘dab’ (Photo: AFP)

 

Ronaldo had chances to score his 80th goal for Portugal either side of Silva’s strike but his finishing was found wanting.

The tie ended with a 2-0 scoreline in favour of the Portuguese, who ended their World Cup qualifying campaign on top with 27 points from 10 games.

Portugal Football, World Cup Qualifiers, Portugal vs Switzerland , Portugal Fans, Football Fans
Portugal’s football fans celebrate at the end of the FIFA World Cup 2018 Group B qualifier football match between Portugal and Switzerland (Photo: AFP)

 

Switzerland have the same points tally but a far inferior goal difference (Portugal have +28 compared to Switzerland’s +16) and will have to participate in the play-offs in November if they are to qualify for next year’s World Cup in Russia.