Football star Cristiano Ronaldo will get another shot at lifting the World Cup after helping Portugal to qualify for the tournament.
His Manchester United teammate Bruno Fernandes scored twice as they beat North Macedonia, who had knocked outItaly last week.
“Goal achieved, we are at the Qatar World Cup, we are in our rightful place! Thank you to all the Portuguese for the tireless support! Portugal strong!” Ronaldo posted to social media in Portuguese.
The World Cup trophy is the one prize that has eluded Ronaldo, a five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
While the 37-year old is set to be a key part of Portugal’s team in Qatar later this year, his fellow Premiership star Mohamed Salah will miss out.
Salah missed from the penalty spot as Senegal advanced at the expense of Egypt.
Senegal advanced on a penalty shootout for one of Africa’s five berths after fans shone lasers in Salah’s face while he stepped up to take Egypt’s first penalty kick. He blasted his attempt over the crossbar while he had green-coloured lasers pointed at his face and body.
Salah’s Liverpool teammate Sadio Mané struck the winning penalty after the teams drew 1-1 on aggregate, sending Senegal to its third World Cup. Mané also had the shootout winner against Egypt in the African Cup of Nations final on 6 February.
Elsewhere, Robert Lewandowski converted a penalty in the 50th minute and Poland secured its second straight World Cup berth with a 2-1 victory over Sweden in another European playoff. It was Lewandowski’s 75th international goal in 129 appearances.
Ghana qualified after a 1-1 draw with Nigeria behind Thomas Partey’s 10th-minute goal to advance on away goals. The Black Stars, who eliminated the US in 2006 and 2010, will be making their fourth World Cup appearance.
Algeria won its first leg, vying to qualify after missing out on the 2018 World Cup, but Cameroon came back with a 2-1 victory on Tuesday on Karl Toko Ekambi’s goal in the fourth minute of the second extra-time period to advance on away goals.
Morocco downed the Democratic Republic of the Congo 4-1 to secure its spot 5-2 on aggregate. Tunisia played to a scoreless draw with Mali and qualified with a 1-0 aggregate victory.
Canada has already clinched a spot in North and Central America and the Caribbean, its first World Cup appearance in 36 years. The United States and Mexico have all but secured berths with the final round of matches set for Wednesday. The US men, who missed out on the 2018 World Cup, visit Costa Rica, while Mexico will host El Salvador.
Which teams have qualified for the Qatar World Cup?
As of Tuesday, 27 teams of the final 32 have been decided. They are:
- South Korea
- Saudi Arabia
Who will take the final five slots?
Ukraine was originally scheduled to play Scotland in a European playoff, but the match was postponed until June because of Russia’s invasion.
The winner plays Wales for Europe’s final spot.
Two more slots in North and Central America and the Caribbean will be decided on 30 March, with the United States and Mexico in pole position to secure them. Costa Rica is currently in fourth place with a chance to go to an intercontinental playoff against the winner of Wednesday’s Oceania match between New Zealand and the Solomon Islands.
Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador and Uruguay have qualified in South America. Peru defeated Paraguay 2-0 on Tuesday night for fifth place and will compete for a berth against the winner of Asia’s fifth-place playoff between Australia and the United Arab Emirates on 7 June.
When is the draw for the Qatar World Cup?
It takes place on 1 April. The eight top seeds for the draw are Qatar, Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, England, France, Portugal and Spain.
When is the World Cup taking place?
Very unusually in the middle of Europe’s domestic football season, from 21 November to 18 December 2022.