As for Sweden, they have have now failed to qualify for three of the last four World Cups, and it’s disappointment for Ibrahimovic – who came out of retirement to help get them to Qatar 2022. Surely that’s his last shot at a World Cup.
Elsewhere, Poland also nicked a ticket to the Mundial after seeing off Sweden 2-0 in their playoff Final. A penalty from skipper Robert Lewandowski and another strike from Piotr Zielinski earned the Poles the win and the ticket to Qatar.
A routine win, and a promising one for what the home side could achieve in Qatar. As for North Macedonia, they have shown they could be a contender to qualify for the Euros.
And so ends our match coverage for tonight! Portugal have booked their place at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar courtesy of a 2-0 win over a resilient North Macedonia side. A brace from Bruno Fernandes gave the Selecao the all-important victory that has taken them to the World Cup in the Middle East.
FULL-TIME: Portugal 2-0 North Macedonia, Poland 2-0 Sweden
73′ MIN: Goal! The ball breaks to Piotr Zielinski after some poor defending, he finds himself one-on-one with the goalkeeper and calmly puts the ball into the back of the net!
GOOOAAALLL!!! Poland 2-0 Sweden (P. Zielinski)
65′ MIN: Bruno Fernandes meets a perfect cross from Diogo Jota deep inside the box and controls it with a nice first touch. He produces a low shot into the middle of the goal.
GOOOAAALLL!!! Portugal 2-0 North Macedonia (B. Fernandes)
50′ MIN: That’s a great strike from the spot by Robert Lewandowski low into the right of the net, giving goalkeeper Robin Olsen no chance!
GOOOAAALLL!!! Poland 1-0 Sweden (R. Lewandowski)
48′ MIN: Jesper Karlstrom trips an opponent with a slide tackle. Daniele Orsato stops the game and he could give him a card, but eventually decides on just a warning. The advantage of a penalty kick is given to Poland.
PENALTY!!! To Poland
SECOND-HALF UNDERWAY: Portugal 1-0 North Macedonia, Poland 0-0 Sweden
HALF-TIME: Portugal 1-0 North Macedonia, Poland 0-0 Sweden
32′ MIN: Cristiano Ronaldo finds Bruno Fernandes with a clever pass. He steps inside his man on the edge of the box and whips a tremendous shot into the bottom left corner.
GOOOAAALLL!!! Portugal 1-0 North Macedonia (B. Fernandes)
KICK-OFF: Portugal 0-0 North Macedonia, Poland 0-0 Sweden
Starting line-ups of Poland and Sweden.
Selecao boss Fernando Santos has named his line-up that will face the Macedonians with captain Cristiano Ronaldo leading the team. Otavio who was superb in the 3-1 win over Turkey keeps his place in the Starting XI as well as Bernardo Silva, Diogo Jota and Bruno Fernandes.
Poland got to this stage by receiving a bye, following Russia’s expulsion from the qualification series by world governing body FIFA after the country’s invasion of Ukraine by president Vladimir Putin. Sweden on the other hand needed extra time to see off 1-0.
Portugal reached the playoff Final after beating Turkey 3-1 last time out, while North Macedonia provided the biggest shock of all by beating four-time World Cup winners 1-0 at their own patch in Palermo.
Hello soccer fans! This is Apex Football’s LIVE coverage of the Play-Off Final fixtures between Portugal vs North Macedonia and Poland vs Sweden which will determine the countries who will pick two tickets to represent Europe at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar later this year.