FIFA 2022 World Cup qualifiers: Sweden get shocked, Germany hit cloud nine with a victory as Portugal held to an unlikely draw

(Football news) Sweden’s hope for automatic qualification took a massive dent as they lost 2-0 to Georgia. With Zlatan making his much awaited international return, Sweden in the first half started very slowly and failed to assert their dominance over the lower ranked team, although Zlatan and Isak both missed straight forward chances. In the second half Georgia did not set to simply survive but countered at every opportunity, this finally paid dividends as in the 61st minute, Kvaratskhelia pounced on a rebound of a freekick to give them the lead, Kvaratskhelia was again on the scoresheet in 77th minute when he finished calmly after fighting off Lindelof’s challenge. 

Sweden must now need to win against Spain in their last match to secure automatic qualification, anything else and it's the dreaded playoffs. Janne Andersson after the match said, “It is an extremely heavy loss of course. And it is clear that we must score on our chances. I can not blame the guys themselves, but it's clear we'll make the first goal. And we will not leave here without scoring a goal”

Germany had already qualified for next year's World Cup but that didn’t stop them from hitting nine past Liechtenstein, who were down to 10 men after 10 minutes. This didn’t stop Hansi Flick’s side from completely dominating them, goals from IIkay Gundogan, Leroy Sane, Marco Reus and a own goal from Daniel Kaufmann had already put the result to bed. Germany didn’t show any mercy at all as they added five more goals in the second half, one more goal for Leroy Sane and double for Thomas Muller made it seven, before late goals from Ridle Baku and an own goal from Max Goppel sealed an outstanding victory for the Germans.

Thomas Muller after the match said, “You always have to put things into perspective a bit, because we haven’t had any extremely difficult opponents. But we are there. There’s a super atmosphere in the home games. We always wanted the next goal. You can talk about a harmonious evening. That we will have more opportunities after Liechtenstein’s red card was also clear,

Republic of Ireland put in a spirited performance as they drew 0-0 against Portugal, whose hopes of automatic qualification for next year's World Cup will depend upon next week's clash against Serbia, where the winner takes all. In the first half, Portugal dominated the proceedings as Gavin Bazunu made good saves off Andre Silva and Cristiano Ronaldo, but the hosts held firm till half time. In the second half, the story of the match was similar but Ireland players were defending for their lives, Portugal's effort eventually faded away when Pepe was sent off for two second half bookings.

“We’re proud of how the team played against one of the best teams in the world but we’re a little disappointed not to have won it,” said Shane Duffy

Stephen Kenny, Ireland head coach after the match said, “You can see how the team has evolved, I’m building a team here. We went through a really difficult period, but you can see what we’re doing.”

Spain got a hard fought 1-0 victory over Greece as Luis Enrique’s side need just a point against Sweden in the final showdown to secure an automatic qualification spot. In the first half Spain dominated the majority of the possession as Inigo Martinez was tripped in the box following a corner, Sarabia coolly slotted the ball to the left of goalkeeper Vlachodimos in the 26th minute. La Roja in the second half then protected their lead quite comfortably as Greece struggled to create any clear cut chances. 

Luis Enrique said, “Today I’m happy. Happy for everyone. But there is no room for relaxation. In situations like this, victories are good. We were focused on our game and it was difficult. We deserved the victory and the team has been good. It was a controlled game. They had hardly any chances. We neutralised their attack. But we didn’t make the most of the few chances we had, and the start of the second half was a little imprecise.”

Also read: Brazil becomes the first South American team to qualify for the World Cup 2022 as Ecuador strengthen their grip on third place

The other results were:

  • Russia 6 (Yerokhin x2, Smolov, Mostovoy, Sutormin, Zabolotny) – 0 Cyprus
  • Slovakia 2 (Duda(pen), Strelec) – 2 Slovenia (Zajc, Mevlja)
  • Romania 0 – 0 Iceland
  • Malta 1 (Brozovic(og) – 7 Croatia (Perisic, Caleta-Car, Pasalic, Modric, Majer x2, Kramaric)
  • Azerbaijan 1 (Salahli) – 3 Luxembourg (Rodrigues x2, Thill)


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