Croatia, Spain & underdogs Serbia secures qualifiers


We are one step closer to knowing which teams will compete in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar after four more European qualifying groups came to an end on Sunday night.

There was drama – with some dead gums thrown in – across the continent, no more than in Lisbon where Serbia secured a last-minute winner to advance at the expense of Portugal.

Elsewhere, Spain and Croatia also booked their seats in the tournament, while the Republic of Ireland finally gave its traveling fans something to celebrate.

This is how it went …

Yes, we think they liked that / Carlos Rodrigues / GettyImages

If Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes are to take part in the 2022 World Cup, Portugal will need to navigate the playoffs after suffering a shock 2-1 loss to Serbia which put them in second place in Group A.

The pair started the process evenly on points, although Portugal had a superior goal difference, and the hosts got off to a perfect start when Renato Sanches made it 1-0 within two minutes. However, the referee was unimpressed, and booked him for diving.

In a tense second half, Portugal looked as if they had seen the match – only for substitute Aleksandar Mitrovic who headed Tadic’s deep cross to send through Serbia.

Meanwhile, have Republic of Ireland ended a disastrous World Cup qualifier at a high value as three strikes in the second half gave them a 3-0 victory over Luxembourg.

Shane Duffy, Chiedozie Ogbene and Callum Robinson all scored after Gavin Bazunu produced a fantastic save in the first half to keep the score even.

Spain went through but it was not a vintage show / Soccrates Images / GettyImages

Spain qualified as Group B winners after a late Alvaro Morata goal gave them a 1-0 victory over Sweden.

In a game that lacks quality – much like the couple’s meeting at the European Championships 2020 – La Roja survived several scares to eventually triumph. Sweden enters the playoffs at the same time after missing the chance to take the top spot with a win.

In the second match in Group B, Greece and Kosovo played a 1-1 draw.

The t-shirts were not wasted / Pixsell / MB Media / GettyImages

Croatia secured their promotion to the 2022 World Cup in a dramatic way – but not quite as dramatic as Serbia – with an own goal in the 81st minute by Fedor Kudryashov who moved them over Russia to the top position in group H.

Elsewhere, Slovakia equalized with an emphatic 6-0 away win over whip boys Malta and Slovenia limped to a 2-1 win against Cyprus.

Germany wrote off in style / Markus Gilliar / GettyImages

A very rotated Germany made easy work of Armenia, winds to a 4-1 victory to maintain its 100% winning record under the new boss Hansi Flick.

Kai Havertz and Ilkay Gundogan made it 2-0 before the break and the Man City man added another five minutes into the second half.

The party was temporarily halted when Henrikh Mkhitaryan pulled one back from the spot but shortly afterwards Jonas Hofmann restored Die Mannschaft’s three-goal lead.

The second place in group J was taken away Northern Macedonia, who had Elif Elmas to thank for his 3-1 win Iceland. The score was even after an hour before the Napoli man turned on the magic and took a match-winning position to ensure that his team came over. Romania, who themselves struck Liechtenstein 2-0.

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