Serbia qualify for 2022 World Cup after Slovenia defeated 3-2 in play-off

This article is over 7 months old • Espanyol defender also sent off for handball when lying on the ground • Portugal now in dire need of draws against Albania and Israel The Portuguese…

Serbia qualify for 2022 World Cup after Slovenia defeated 3-2 in play-off

This article is over 7 months old

• Espanyol defender also sent off for handball when lying on the ground • Portugal now in dire need of draws against Albania and Israel

The Portuguese World Cup finalists Serbia have qualified for the 2022 tournament after losing 3-2 to Israel in a one-off play-off in Bucharest.

The visitors scored twice in the last 12 minutes, first through Marko Grujic and then after Cedric Bakambu had equalised, to inflict the full extent of their rivals’ humiliation.

The impressive teenager was presented with the best chance of the match on the stroke of full-time when Lionel Messi flicked on a deep cross and Grujic blazed over from close range, but only just.

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“We never found the balance and nerves got the better of us,” Serbia’s manager, Mladen Krstajic, said. “We could still reach the knockout stage in the Nations League, but the tournament in Qatar will be a new experience.”

Grujic later handed Portugal the consolation of a 3-3 draw with 10 men at the Estádio Nacional, but it was not enough to save his side from suffering their heaviest defeat in the tournament.

Valencia left-back Achraf Hakimi was sent off for a second yellow card after 87 minutes, but Portugal – runners-up at the 2014 finals in Brazil and finalists four years ago – were now in dire need of draws in their final two qualifiers, against Albania on Tuesday and at home to Israel on Friday.

They will join Morocco, Switzerland, England, France, Argentina, Belgium, Spain, Germany, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Japan, Turkey, Senegal, Uruguay and Portugal in the finals.

The move of the day

The one-time Manchester United striker Cristiano Ronaldo appears to have no intention of changing his act any time soon. Here’s a video of his incredible celebration as he struck the crossbar and scored the winner for Portugal in their World Cup qualifier against Israel.

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How it happened

Cristiano Ronaldo made it look so easy. Video by Fifa.com, via SI.com

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