Serbia stun Portugal, qualify for FIFA World Cup 2022
Serbia secured an automatic berth to the 2022 FIFA World Cup with a stunning victory over Portugal (2-1) in their Group A qualifier on Sunday. Aleksandar Mitrovic scored in the 90th minute in Serbia's magnificent win. The Cristiano Ronaldo-led side will now try their luck in the impending playoff round in order to qualify for the World Cup. Here are the key stats.
Why does it matter?
- Portugal hoped to be through by topping the Group A. However, a comeback win catapulted Serbia to the top with 20 points, three more than Portugal.
- Portugal will now contest for qualification through a playoff stage where 11 European nations await them.
- With another defeat, they could miss the WC berth for the first time since 1998.
- This will also be Ronaldo's last WC.
How did the match pan out?
Portugal drew first blood after Bernardo Silva assisted Renato Sanches, who scored from 15 metres. In the 33rd minute, Dusan Vlahovic came up with an equalizer for Serbia. Portugal were set to regain lead just before half-time, however, Nikola Milenkovic denied them the chance. In the 90th minute, an extraordinary header by substitute Aleksandar Mitrovic took Serbia to the FIFA World Cup main draw.
A forgettable day for Ronaldo
It is interesting to note that star striker Ronaldo couldn't have a single shot on target against Serbia. It was the first time in the World Cup qualifying campaign that he didn't hit the target at least once.
Mitrovic, Tadic attain these feats
An incredible effort by Mitrovic in the game's dying moments helped Serbia clinch the coveted FIFA World Cup berth. This was his 33rd goal in the last 35 internationals. Mitrovic has scored eight goals in as many games for Serbia in World Cup qualifying. He has also started five times in these games. Besides, Dusan Tadic has now provided six assists in the tournament.