Portugal, Poland sail through

Portugal beat North Macedonia 2-0 and Poland saw off Sweden by the same score in playoff finals on Tuesday to book their places in the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar.

Bruno Fernandes scored both goals for Portugal to overcome the Balkan nation that had knocked out European champions Italy in a stunning result last week.

Italy’s shock exit had North Macedonia dreaming of their first ever appearance at a World Cup finals but Portugal proved a step too far in Porto.

Fernandes set Portugal on their way at the Estadio do Dragao by finishing off Cristiano Ronaldo’s pass in the first half and then put the victory beyond doubt in the second, connecting with a sublime cross from Diogo Jota.

The victory means Portugal extend their run of qualifying for all six of the World Cups since the turn of the century while Manchester United forward Ronaldo is on course for his fifth, aged 37.

Ronaldo’s best previous result was reaching the semifinals in 2006, when Portugal were beaten by Germany. -AFP

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