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Portugal seal place at finals with win over Switzerland

Portugal seal place at finals with win over Swiss

10/10/2017 at 22:33Updated 11/10/2017 at 00:03

World Cup qualifying Group B, Estadio da Luz - Portugal 2 (Djourou 41 og, Andre Silva 57) Switzerland 0

European champions Portugal secured their World Cup spot with a 2-0 win over Switzerland thanks to Johan Djourou's own goal and Andre Silva's 11th in 10 games.

Fernando Santos' side win Group B while Switzerland go into the play-offs despite winning nine of their 10 group games.

The game started slowly with Portugal dominating possession and Switzerland sitting back, looking to counter. But the visitors couldn't find the necessary quality in their passing, and on 41 minutes, Eliseu's superb low cross from the left was met by the stretching Joao Mario, who touched the ball against the retreating Djourou and into the net.

Portugal celebrate

Portugal celebrateGetty Images

Portugal were more aggressive after half-time, and on 57 minutes extended their advantage, a lovely move ending with Andre Silva sliding home Bernardo Silva's cross.

Switzerland never seriously threatened to haul themselves back into things - Portugal were too technical and too streetwise to surrender their advantage. And though they will not travel to Russia as favourites, they have a settled, confident side, a solid defence, a reliable goalscorer and a genius; they are capable of beating anybody and will expect to mount a serious challenge.

TALKING POINT

Do Portugal need to change anything? Group B has been a breeze for the European champions. They lost their first game while still on honeymoon, but have won them all since, scoring 32 times in 10 games. But they faced compliant opponents, whereas in Russia they will not. So, do they keep doing what they do and assume will work, or look to find a more expansive style to combat the better teams? They proved here they can deliver some eye-catching moments when in the mood.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Joao Moutinho (Portugal): No one really excelled, but Moutinho kept his team ticking and played a crucial role in creating the killer second goal.

PLAYER RATINGS

Switzerland: Sommer 7, Lichtensteiner 6, Schar 6, Djourou 5, Rodriguez 6, Xhaka 5, Freuler 5, Shaqiri 5, Dzemaili 5, Mehmedi 5, Seferovic 5. Subs: Zakaria 5, Embolo 6, Zuber 6.

Portugal: Rui Patricio 6, Cedric 6, Pepe 6, Fonte 6, Eliseu 7, Carvalho 6, Moutinho 7, Bernardo Silva 6, Joao Mario 6, Ronaldo 5, Andre Silva 7. Subs: Antunes 6, Andre Gomes 6, Danilo 6.

Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo (L) and Swiss midfielder Remo Freuler (R) vie for the ball

Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo (L) and Swiss midfielder Remo Freuler (R) vie for the ballGetty Images

KEY MOMENTS

32’ - CHANCE! Ronaldo dribbles across the face of the box from left to right, trips over, and claims a foul. It's no such thing, but it distracts the defenders, so Moutinho is able to curve a pass with the outside of his boot into the path of Bernardo, inside the box on its left. He should go low to the far post but goes high to the near, and Sommer beats away.

41’ - GOAL! Portugal 1-0 Switzerland. Djourou own goal - Eliseu crosses brilliantly from the left and schar, sliding towards hiw own net can't get a touch. So Sommer comes out as Joao Mario lunges ... the attacker gets a flick, and Djourou can't get out of the road, knocking it home.

55’ - RONAL...NO! Portugal are playing better now, and Ronaldo picks out Bernardo on the right, accepts the return, and now in the D, goes with his right not his left and skews a drive high and wide.

57’ - GOAL! Portugal 2-0 Switzerland. Andre Silva scores - Portugal are going to Russia! And they've sealed it with a fine team goal, Cedrid finding Bernardo, who finds Moutinho just outside the box ... and Moutinho slides him back in, deep inside the box ... he crosses low, and Silva, seeing it through a crowd, manages to play the ball behind his standing leg by mistake, then maintains equilibrium to slide a finish into the unguarded net. That's 11 in 10 for him.

79’ - CHANCE! Portugal win a corner down the right, hit deep into the box; Djourou can only deflect it back inside, and Pepe doesn't connect properly with his shot. That was a good chance.

80’ - SELFISH... Ronaldo is in on goal! Sliding through at inside-left, he decides to show off by rounding Sommer, who stands up well and smothers the ball.

KEY STATS

Andre Silva's nine goals in qualification puts him fourth in Europe.

Cristiano Ronaldo's 15 goals in qualification breaks Predrag's Mijatovic's record from the 1998 competition ... but so does Robert Lewandowski's 16. Ronaldo does, though, hold the record of 30 career World Cup qualifying goals, three ahead of Andriy Shevchenko, and has 33 career World Cup goals including finals - also a record.

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