Cristiano Ronaldo primarily assured that Portugal would make the 2022 FIFA World Cup in its closing European group-stage qualifier at dwelling in opposition to Serbia. However the assure got here up brief and now he should sweat it out to make what is going to seemingly be his final World Cup.
Portugal entered the ultimate group match in first place in Group A, and a win or draw would have been sufficient for it to e-book its ticket to Qatar 2022. As an alternative, it misplaced to Serbia 2-1 on a late objective, ending second and settling for a spot within the playoffs to determine whether or not the 36-year-old Ronaldo will get an opportunity to shut out his legendary profession with a World Cup trophy.
However the playoffs might be tough: Portugal should win two separate one-off knockout matches or miss out on the World Cup for the primary time since 1998. Portugal and Ronaldo followers might be praying the playoff draw is type to them.
European qualifying Group A closing standings
- Serbia: 20 factors
- Portugal: 17
- Republic of Eire: 9
- Luxembourg: 9
- Azerbaijan: 1
How Europe’s World Cup playoffs work
Twelve European nations — the ten second-place group finishers and two groups from the UEFA Nations League group winners — might be cut up into three brackets of 4 groups every. These three brackets will every have a single World Cup ticket on the road.
The 4 groups in every of the three brackets will first play a single-elimination semifinal stage (March 24-25), adopted by a single-elimination playoff closing (March 28-29). Solely the winner of the ultimate will make it to Qatar.
The draw to find out the four-team brackets will happen on Nov. 26. Eight of the 12 playoff groups are already recognized with the remainder of the sphere decided by Wednesday, Nov. 16. Ronaldo’s Portugal is at present the highest-ranked workforce within the playoff subject (listed beneath in alphabetical order):
|Nation||FIFA Rating||How certified||World Cup apps||Titles|
|Austria||32||Nations League||7 of 21||—|
|Czech Republic||31||2nd – Grp. E / Nations League||1 of 6
(as Czech Rep.)
|North Macedonia||74||2nd – Grp. J||0 of seven
|Portugal||8||2nd – Grp. A||7 of 21||—|
|Russia||33||2nd – Grp. H||4 of seven
|Scotland||42||2nd – Grp. F||8 of 21||—|
|Sweden||17||2nd – Grp. B||12 of 21||—|
|Wales||19||2nd – Grp. E / Nations League||1 of 21||—|
|TBD||2nd – Grp. C|
|TBD||2nd – Grp. D|
|TBD||2nd – Grp. G|
|TBD||2nd – Grp. I|
Portugal final certified by way of the playoff for the 2014 World Cup. That European playoff format was primarily based on a two-match collection wherein Portugal obtained previous Sweden in an epic duel between Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. That showdown may happen as soon as once more within the playoffs for the 2022 version.
Ronaldo is trying to make his fifth World Cup, having certified for the final 4 with Portugal. His nation appeared to be cruising to first place in Group A, solely to attract the Republic of Eire 0-0 on Thursday after which lose to Serbia at dwelling on Sunday to shut out group play.
It was after that 0-0 attract Dublin that Ronaldo felt compelled to guarantee Portuguese nationwide workforce followers that qualification would occur at dwelling within the closing recreation. “On Sunday, in entrance of our followers at dwelling, we’re going to e-book our place within the Qatar World Cup,” learn the ultimate line (translated from Portuguese) of his Instagram put up to his 366 million followers.