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2018 World Cup Qualifier Report: Portugal v Switzerland 10 October 2017
2018 World Cup Qualifier
Result: Portugal 2-0 Switzerland
Date: 10 October 2017
Venue: Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica
European champions Portugal booked their spot at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia with a convincing 2-0 win over Switzerland at Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica on Tuesday night.
Heading into the match, Switzerland had nine wins from nine Group B matches. Meanwhile, Portugal had won all of their qualifiers apart from their previous fixture against tonight’s opponents — which they lost 2-0.
Both teams showed attacking intent in the opening stages of the game, but neither was able to seriously trouble their opponents in the final third.
Remo Freuler picked up the first yellow card in the 27th minute for handball — arguably rather harshly.
Five minutes later, Yann Sommer had to make a fine save to tip André Silva’s fearsome strike over the bar.
Despite the goalkeeper’s efforts, the ball was finally put into his net in the 41st minute by his own team-mate, Johan Djourou.
Sommer’s touch while attempting to take the ball off João Mário deflected it into Djourou’s path. The former Arsenal defender was in the wrong place at the wrong time as it then deflected off his foot and into the goal.
Eliseu was cautioned in stoppage time at the end of the half as he lunged in on Xherdan Shaqiri.
Nevertheless, Portugal went into the break leading 1-0 and on course to clinch automatic qualification.
In the 57th minute, André Silva brought that target even closer, putting the ball past Sommer to double Portugal’s lead after Bernardo Silva picked him out with an exquisite pass.
Switzerland looked to find a way back into the game and went close in the 67th minute, when Haris Seferović diverted Shaqiri’s strike just wide of the right post on the stretch.
Two minutes later, Denis Zakaria was yellow carded for a foul on André Silva.
Sommer’s heroics kept Switzerland in the match late on as he denied first Pepe in the 79th minute and then Cristiano Ronaldo one-on-one moments later.
However, the visitors were unable to find as much joy at the other end of the pitch and succumbed to defeat.
As a result, they will have to qualify for the World Cup via the playoffs — while Portugal can start dreaming of adding international football’s biggest trophy to their 2016 continental prize.