2022 World Cup: Portugal Suffers Shocking Defeat As Serbia Joins Spain, Croatia

2022 World Cup: Portugal Suffers Shocking Defeat As Serbia Joins Spain, Croatia

2022 World Cup – Spain, Serbia and Croatia are heading to next year’s World Cup. Sweden, Portugal and Russia aren’t — not yet, anyway, reports Thecitypulsenews. 

Aleksandar Mitrovic’s 90th-minute header left Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal stunned in a 2-1 win for Serbia in Lisbon, which gave Serbia an automatic qualifying spot at the World Cup in Qatar. Portugal still has a chance to qualify, but it must navigate a four-team bracket in the playoffs in March.

All of the teams which booked a World Cup place in Europe on Sunday did so with dramatic late goals.

Spain only needed a draw in its last game against Sweden to qualify, but Álvaro Morata made sure in the 86th minute with the only goal in a 1-0 win to leave veteran Sweden star Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s hopes of another World Cup appearance depending on the playoffs.

Croatia laid siege to Russia’s goal on a waterlogged field quickly turning into a swamp, and was finally rewarded when a Russian defender scored an 81st-minute own-goal, enough for a 1-0 win.

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Russia, too, heads to the playoffs, which start March 24 and will sort 12 teams — 10 group runner-ups and two with strong records from the Nations League — into three brackets of four teams. Each bracket has one World Cup place. The draw takes place Nov. 26 in Zurich.

Portugal was in a strong position when Renato Sanches scored the opening goal after just two minutes against Serbia, but Dusan Tadic kept Serbia in the game with an equalizer in the 33rd. Mitrovic’s late header silenced the crowd and shocked Portugal’s players, including Ronaldo, who sat on the field at the final whistle.

“It was an amazing game, fully deserved,” Mitrovic said. “I think we deserved to win the game and to be in Qatar.”

Beating Portugal for the first time marks a turnaround after Serbia failed to qualify for the European Championship.

There’s one positive for Portugal. Its comparatively strong record in the group means it will be one of the seeded teams for the playoffs in March and will get a home draw for the single-leg bracket semifinal game. Portugal last missed a World Cup in 1998.

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Ireland won 3-0 at Luxembourg in the other Group A game.

Substitute Morata scored the winner for Spain after Dani Olmo’s long-range shot bounced off the post to send Spain to its 12th consecutive World Cup.

At the age of 40, Zlatan Ibrahimovic was bidding to reach his first World Cup since 2006 with Sweden — he didn’t make the squad in 2018 — but couldn’t change the game after coming off the bench in the 74th.

That ended a campaign which seemed to be under control for Sweden before a shock 2-0 loss to Georgia on Thursday.

In Athens, already eliminated Greece and Kosovo drew 1-1.

2022 World Cup: Portugal Suffers Shocking Defeat As Serbia Joins Spain, Croatia

! 2022 World Cup: Portugal Suffers Shocking Defeat As Serbia Joins Spain, Croatia