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World Cup qualifying roundup 14/11: Croatia, Spain & underdogs Serbia secure qualification

Matt O'Connor-Simpson
It was not a good night for Cristiano Ronaldo and his compatriots...
It was not a good night for Cristiano Ronaldo and his compatriots... / PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/GettyImages

We are another step closer to knowing which teams will be competing in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar after four more European qualification groups drew to a close on Sunday night.

There was drama - with a few dead rubbers thrown in - across the continent, none more so than in Lisbon where Serbia secured a last-minute winner to progress at the expense of Portugal.

Elsewhere, Spain and Croatia also booked their places at the tournament, while the Republic of Ireland finally gave their travelling fans something to celebrate.

Here is how it all went down...

Group A

Aleksandar Mitrovic
Yeah we think they liked that one / Carlos Rodrigues/GettyImages

If Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes are to be at the 2022 World Cup, Portugal will have to navigate the play-offs after they suffered a shock 2-1 defeat to Serbia that saw them drop to second in Group A.

The pair started proceedings level on points, although Portugal had a superior goal difference, and the hosts got off to the perfect start when Renato Sanches made it 1-0 inside two minutes. However, they were dealt a blow when a poor mistake from Rui Patricio allowed Dusan Tadic to level things up before the break.

In a tense second half Portugal looked like they had seen the game out - only for substitute Aleksandar Mitrovic to head home Tadic's deep cross to send Serbia through.

Meanwhile, the Republic of Ireland ended a disastrous World Cup qualification campaign on a high as three second-half strikes gave them a 3-0 victory over Luxembourg.

Shane Duffy, Chiedozie Ogbene and Callum Robinson all scored after Gavin Bazunu had produced a terrific first-half save to keep the scores level.

Group B

Alvaro Morata, Jordi Alba, Pau Torres
Spain went through but it was not a vintage display / Soccrates Images/GettyImages

Spain qualified as Group B winners after a late Alvaro Morata goal gave them a 1-0 victory over Sweden.

In a game short on quality - much like the pair's meeting at Euro 2020 - La Roja survived several scares to eventually triumph. Sweden, meanwhile, enter the play-offs after passing up the chance to snatch top spot with a win.

In the other game in Group B, Greece and Kosovo played out a 1-1 draw.

Group H

Nikola Vlasic, Josip Juranovic, Andrej Kramaric
The t-shirts were not wasted / Pixsell/MB Media/GettyImages

Croatia ensured their progression to the 2022 World Cup in dramatic fashion - though not quite as dramatically as Serbia - with a 81st minute own goal by Fedor Kudryashov moving them above Russia to top spot in Group H.

Elsewhere, Slovakia signed off with an emphatic 6-0 away victory over whipping boys Malta and Slovenia limped to a 2-1 win against Cyprus.

Group J

Ridle Baku
Germany signed off in style / Markus Gilliar/GettyImages

A much-rotated Germany made light work of Armenia, breezing to a 4-1 victory to maintain their 100% winning record under new boss Hansi Flick.

Kai Havertz and Ilkay Gundogan made it 2-0 before the break and the Man City man added another five minutes into the second half.

The party was temporarily halted when Henrikh Mkhitaryan pulled one back from the spot but soon after Jonas Hofmann restored Die Mannschaft's three-goal advantage.

Second place in Group J was taken by North Macedonia, who had Elif Elmas to thank for their 3-1 win over Iceland. The scores were level after an hour before the Napoli man turned on the magic, grabbing a match-winning brace to ensure his side finished above Romania, who themselves beat Liechtenstein 2-0.

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