European Champions See Off Swiss To Qualify For World Cup

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European champions Portugal beat Switzerland in Lisbon to finish top of European Qualifying Group B and reach the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

An own goal from Johan Djourou handed Portugal the lead on 41 minutes and Andre Silva netted a second before the hour as the hosts finished top of Group B ahead of Switzerland on goal difference.

Switzerland, who beat Portugal 2-0 at home last year, had won all nine previous qualifiers but must overcome a two-legged play-off in November to earn a fourth straight World Cup appearance.

Ronaldo, who was injured for the opening qualifying defeat in Basel, returned to the Portugal line-up after coming off the bench to notch the opening goal in a lacklustre 2-0 win in Andorra on Saturday.

AC Milan striker Andre Silva forced Yann Sommer into a smart early save from his deflected shot, with the Swiss goalkeeper then forced to make a terrific stop to tip over Bernardo Silva’s venomous effort.

Pop star Madonna was among the crowd at the Estadio da Luz which erupted when Djourou inadvertently bundled a dangerous cross from Eliseu beyond Sommer four minutes before the break under heavy pressure from Joao Mario.

In Group H, Greece ensured their place in the play-offs with a 4-0 win over Gibraltar.

Belgium had already won that group and thrashed Cyprus 4-0 with Chelsea’s Eden Hazard scoring twice, and further goals from his brother Thorgan and one late on from Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku.

Meanwhile, the European teams to qualify for the World Cup so far are France, Portugal, Germany, Serbia, Poland, England, Spain, Belgium and Iceland.

There are four more European places up for grabs, with eight nations – Sweden, Switzerland, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Denmark, Italy, Greece and Croatia – taking part in two-legged play-offs.

Four of the teams will be seeded, and they will be confirmed when the next Fifa world rankings are announced next week.

Slovakia, who finished below England and above Scotland in Group F, are the nation to miss out on the play-offs as they are the second-placed side with the worst record.

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