Serbia put Portugal and Ronaldo’s Qatar World Cup qualification on hold

Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo
Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo - IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

Serbia stunned Portugal 2-1 away from home to secure automatic qualification to the 2022 World Cup.

Portugal and Serbia faced off in a mouthwatering Group A encounter of World Cup Qualifiers.

Playing on the home turf and also leading the group, Portugal were deemed the favourites to book their tickets to next year’s World Cup without any hassle.

However, as it turned out, the Serbians stunned Portugal 2-1, with Aleksandar Mitrovic firing in a late winner.

Cristiano Ronaldo and co were left disappointed with the outcome and they will have to wait until March for the Playoffs.

Dusan Tadic-led Serbians produce a dream win

Serbians have been clinical in their previous games and were expected to give Portugal a run for their money. However, their poor record against Selecao was standing in their way. But the Serbs managed to do the unthinkable, beating Fernando Santo’s men in their own backyard. The victory was also their first against Portugal since 1984. Dusan Tadic showed why he is Serbia’s talisman by scoring the equaliser in the first half and setting up Mitrovic’s late winner. Serbians would be feeling over the blue moon after securing automatic qualification to next year’s World Cup at Qatar, piping out the Euro 2016 winners.

Portugal with a subpar performance on a big night

Portugal were held to a draw against Ireland days ago and they have followed up with an even more mediocre performance. A quick-fire strike by Renato Sanches might have made the Portuguese fans dream about next year’s world cup but it was soon shattered by Serbia’s epic come-back. Cristiano Ronaldo and fellow Portuguese superstars were far from their best, hardly showing any inspiration. Fernando Santos’ tactics have been questioned again after Selecao failed to deliver in another big game.

Ronaldo’s World Cup dreams in jeopardy, playoffs await in March

Cristiano Ronaldo had earlier stated that the 2022 World Cup could be his last resort and the 36-year-old’s scintillating displays in the previous international breaks showed that he has a great chance of ending the drought in the World Cup next year. However, it still looks like a pipe dream for the Man Utd ace, with the Portuguese side failing to secure automatic qualification. Selecao’s fortunes will be decided in the playoffs next year, where they will compete with the runners up of other groups.