MX23RW : Sunday, February 24 03:59:08
Oct 10, 2017 at 7.45pm UK
Djourou (41' og.), Silva (57')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Live Commentary: Portugal 2-0 Switzerland - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's live text coverage of Portugal's 2-0 win against Switzerland, as the European champions booked their place at Russia 2018.
Live Commentary: Portugal 2-0 Switzerland - as it happened
© Offside

Goals either side of half time helped Portugal to a 2-0 World Cup qualifying victory over Switzerland in their must-win match on Tuesday night.

The reigning European champions knew that three points were required if they were to book a spot in next summer's finals in Russia.

Johan Djourou put into his own net 41 minutes in and Andre Silva added a second shortly before the hour mark, rounding off a flowing team move.

Relive how the 90 minutes of action unfolded with Sports Mole's live text coverage below.

6.45pmHello and welcome to Sports Mole's live text coverage of the World Cup qualifying clash between Portugal and Switzerland at the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon. The visitors have led Group B all the way through the campaign, having won all nine of their games to date, yet rather incredibly they could still miss out on automatic qualification for next summer's competition in Russia.

6.47pmLa Nati head to Lisbon knowing that anything other than defeat will be enough to take them through to Russia 2018. There have been numerous permutations across the continent for these final round of fixtures, but it is pretty straightforward tonight in Group A - Portugal, the defending European champions, must pick up all three points on home soil if they are to avoid going through a tricky two-legged playoff.


STARTING XI: Patricio; Cedric, Pepe, Fonte, Eliseu; Carvalho, Moutinho, Bernardo, Joao Mario; Andre Silva, Ronaldo

SUBS: Lopes, Beto, Bruno Alves, N. Semedo, Antunes, Danilo, Andre Gomes, Renato Sanches, Eder, Guedes, Gelson, Quaresma

6.51pmThe big team news as far as Portugal are concerned is that star man Cristiano Ronaldo returns to the starting lineup after being benched for the 2-0 win over Andorra. Boss Fernando Santos suggested that he overlooked the Real Madrid forward from the off due to a lack of training in the build-up to the match, but he was - and still is - one yellow card away from an automatic suspension so that must have been on Santos's mind.

6.53pmRonaldo came off the bench in Andorra la Vella to turn the game in his side's favour, netting the breakthrough goal soon after being introduced and then sending in a dangerous cross for the second of the match. Having the Real Madrid ace back in their ranks is a major boost for the Seleccao, as he has scored 16 goals and assisted a further three in his last 13 outings for the national side - a brilliant record for a truly brilliant player.

6.55pmWe could also see Ronaldo edge closer to making some history tonight, with the superstar forward currently on 79 goals for Portugal in 146 outings - better than a goal every other game - to leave him two behind being third on the all-time list of international goalscorers. Ferenc Puskas and Ali Daei still remain out in front, but there is a real chance that Ronaldo will close that gap if he can continue his current form into his late 30s.

6.57pmThis is not exactly a one-man team, as such, but as witnessed in the reverse fixture - when Ronaldo was absent - the Seleccao do rely on their forward a little too much at times. Alongside him this evening is promising AC Milan attacker Andre Silva, while Bernardo Silva and Joao Mario will provide support from wide. William Carvalho and Joao Mourinho occupy central-midfield berths, meanwhile, in a squad that does not include defensive duo Fabio Coentrao and Raphael Guerriero.


STARTING XI: Sommer; Lichtsteiner, Schar, Djourou, Rodriguez; Xhaka, Freuler; Shaqiri, Dzemaili, Mehmedi; Seferovic

SUBS: Hitz, Mvogo, Moubandje, Elvedi, Akanji, Lang, Zuber, Frei, Zakaria, Embolo, Gavranovic, Derdiyok

7.01pmIn terms of the visitors, they also have a couple of players absent tonight in Edmilson and Gelson Fernandes. Haris Seferovic is fit and firing, though, aiming to build on a run that has seen him score seven goals in 13 outings for Switzerland and Portuguese club Benfica so far this season. This is a ground that he knows very well, of course, as he plies his club trade here.

7.03pmSeferovic leads the scoring charts for La Nati with four goals this campaign, three of which came against last month's fixtures against Andorra and Latvia. That is a far from impressive tally for a side looking so dominant on the road to Russia, particularly when compared to opposite number Ronaldo's 15 goals - only Robert Lewandowski of already-qualified Poland can boast more.

7.05pmThere is plenty of quality throughout the Swiss side, including Admir Mehmedi of Bayer Leverkusen and Stoke City ace Xherdan Shaqiri in attack, with the duo supplying the ammunition for Seferovic. A clean sheet will take the visitors through, remember, so expect them to keep things as tight as possible at the back to build on a solid defensive record so far during this qualifying campaign. Fabian Schar and Johan Djourou are at centre-back tonight.

7.07pmPortugal can call upon Cristiano Ronaldo from the off this evening, with the Real Madrid forward playing a pivotal role from the bench against Andorra last time out. The Seleccao only just scrapped past the minnows, setting up this do-or-die showdown with group leaders Switzerland at the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon. What a huge match we have to look forward to!

Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo controls the ball during the friendly against Estonia on June 8, 2016© AFP

7.09pmThe hosts find themselves ranked at third in the world on the back of last year's famous European Championship success, but they are yet to book a place in next summer's World Cup finals. With one match to go their fate remains in their own hands, however, knowing that victory tonight will see them qualify for the competition for the fifth time running. Their record when they get there is not great, though - a third-place finish in 1966 as good as it has got for them.

7.11pmIt is far to say that Portugal have had more joy at the Euros, reaching at least the quarter-final stage in each participation since 1996, finishing runners-up once on home soil in 2004 and then famously going all the way in 2016. They have followed up that success in France by racking up eight wins from nine in qualifying, though tellingly that solitary loss came at the hands of Switzerland.

7.13pmThe defeat to Switzerland came 13 months ago in the first game of the campaign, and what a pivotal result it could be. It has left the pressure on the European champions to get all three points this evening in the concluding Group B fixture, with results elsewhere having no effect on who progresses between these two sides. Seleccao responded well following that early setback by winning each of their last eight qualifiers to leave them in with a good chance.

7.15pmPortugal have scored 30 goals and conceded just four in the process, giving them a better record than Switzerland in both categories. It is points accrued that counts, though, and La Nati have been as consistent as you can possibly be - played nine, won nine. The hosts have managed to take it right down to the wire by seeing off Hungary and Andorra away in their most recent two outings, carving out a 2-0 victory against the latter a few days back.

7.17pmIt was far fro ma vintage Portugal performance on what was a dodgy playing surface, relying on Ronaldo to rescue them somewhat when brought on for the second half. The Real Madrid ace, aiming to build on a run that has seen him play a direct part in 19 goals across his last 13 international games, found the net against Andorra and then played a key part in Andre Silva's killer second late on. Job done for Santos's men - just!

7.19pmPortugal have now lost just three of their last 25 fixtures overall, one of which came on pens to Chile at the Confederations Cup during the summer. The others came against Switzerland in their Group B opener in September 2016 and Sweden in a friendly in Madeira, as they somehow squandered a comfortable lead. The Seleccao's participation in the summer tournament in Russia was great prep for the World Cup finals, but first they have to get there.

7.21pmDID YOU KNOW? Portugal have won their last seven competitive home games, last failing to do so when suffering a shock 1-0 loss to Albania during qualifying for the 2016 European Championship finals, which they would go on to win. The Seleccao, now ranked at third in the world behind Brazil and Germany, have won all four outings here during the current campaign.

7.23pmFernando Santos guided Portugal to a famous European Championship success last summer but, with one game to go in the currently qualifying campaign, his side have yet to book their place at Russia 2018. For that to happen they require all three points against a so-far-perfect Switzerland side - no ifs and buts; there are no other permutations. A playoff berth is a guaranteed safety net for both teams, though.

Greece's Portuguese coach Fernando Santos is pictured during a group C football match between Colombia and Greece at the Mineirao Arena in Belo Horizonte during the 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 14, 2014© Getty Images

7.25pmSwitzerland, who themselves are flying high in FIFA's latest rankings at seventh in the world - even after slipping three places - and they will head into this match full on confidence. They have a good record in qualifying for the World Cup, doing so on each of the last three occasions and making it to the knockout stages twice during that time. They also made it through to the last 16 at last summer's Euros, before being knocked out by Poland.

7.27pmSwiss boss Vladimir Petkovic will be hoping to improve on that last-16 exit if his side do make it to Russia 2018, though, as they have showed during this qualifying campaign that they are serious dark horses for that tournament in eight months' time. Ten wins in a row overall, with one of those coming in a friendly against Belarus, is a seriously impressive record that has them down as one of the form teams in world football right now.

7.29pmLa Nati most recently beat Hungary 5-2 at St Jakob-Park on Saturday evening, racing four goals ahead inside the opening 49 minutes but then shutting off slightly at the back which is not like them at all on the basis of this campaign. Switzerland had kept six clean sheets heading into that match in Basel, going almost a full calendar year without seeing their net breached. Do so again tonight and they can start planning for next summer's finals in Russia.

7.31pmSwitzerland have not been quite as ruthless as Portugal in front of goal, but that matters little when they are so strong defensively. Some have suggested that the visitors will park the bus this evening and attempt to pick their opponents off, knowing that the onus is on the European champions to score a goal. It sets up what should be an intriguing encounter in Lisbon in what is essentially a winner-takes-all clash.

7.33pmPREVIOUS MEETINGS! These two sides have met on 21 previous occasions, with Portugal winning just six of those and losing 10. They have suffered back-to-back defeats in this fixture, in fact, going 24 years since last earning victory against the Swiss when coming out on top 1-0 in a World Cup 94 qualifier. Breel Embolo and Admir Mehmedi scored the goals as La Nati came out on top 2-0 in the reverse match 13 months ago.

7.35pmIt is worth remembering that Portugal were without Ronaldo for that opening Group B fixture, in what has been a stop-start campaign for the Real Madrid ace thus far. Ronaldo is just beginning to find his stride now, however, and with him in their side the Seleccao have to be considered favourites to progress through tonight. Intriguingly, another superstar in Lionel Messi could miss out on a place in the World Cup unless Argentina pick up a positive result tonight away to Ecuador.

7.37pmWith kickoff at the Estadio da Luz now less than 10 minutes away, let us check out some pre-match thoughts from both camps.

Pepe: "It was our first game and we did not have our most important player, our standard-bearer Cristiano Ronaldo. It will be completely different. I know that what Cristiano wants is to be at the World Cup next year. So you can ask him, but I as his friend and knowing his goals, I can guarantee that what Cristiano wants is to help Portugal and win. Win to play in the World Cup. Is there a team in the world that would not be stronger with Cristiano Ronaldo? I don't think so. With Cristiano, it's obvious our team is even more valuable. Which player does not want to win? A player who doesn't want to win, it's better not to be with us. Everyone wants to win, players and the Portuguese people."

Granit Xhaka: "The game with Portugal is almost like a World Cup Final for me. It's a unique situation that only rarely arises in qualifying. If you win, you're heroes. But if you don't, then you're losers. That might sound harsh but that's the way it is. All the games we've won up until now are irrelevant, which makes us want the points we need even more. We're not going into the game looking to defend for 90 minutes, that's just not our style. We want to play football and show we can be bold. But yes, Portugal have to make the running, only a win will do for them. That could play to our advantage. We're in a comfortable position and can bide our time, and perhaps hit them on the break."

7.39pmPlenty of talk about Ronaldo possibly missing out on a place at the World Cup, then, but it is worth stressing that defeat or a draw for Portugal tonight is not disastrous. They still have the safety net of a qualification playoff next month, which they are seeded for, so you would still fancy them to be in Russia next summer one way or another. They will not want to do it the hard way, though - three points tonight is still the target.

7.41pmSwiss midfielder Xhaka claims that this is "like a World Cup final" in its own right for his side. It would be incredibly cruel if La Nati did miss out on a place in Russia, having topped Group B since beating Portugal on matchday one 13 months ago. The long and gruelling campaign is almost at an end, with one more positive result tonight - even if they do not extend their winning run - enough to see them through. The stakes could not be any higher in this pick of the final-round fixtures.

7.43pmBoth sets of players have now made their way out on to the field of play, with kickoff at the Estadio da Luz less than two minutes away. A full house in Lisbon, as expected, as Portugal and Switzerland battle it out for a spot at Russia 2018. The visitors have played nine and won nine; the hosts have racked up nine wins on the spin since an opening-game defeat to take it right down to the wire. Bring it on!

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri in action during the Euro 2016 match against Romania on June 15, 2016© SilverHub

1 minKICKOFF! European champions Portugal get us under way at the Estadio da Luz. Cristiano Ronaldo back in their ranks tonight, remember, while Switzerland - currently atop Group B - make three changes from last time out.

3 minThe visitors certainly not holding back, fielding what is an attack-minded formation - three along the top. Defensively, they have been very solid so far this campaign, albeit with two being shipped against Hungary when rotating slightly last time out.

5 minPortugal seeing plenty of the ball at the moment, patiently looking to work the ball forward. Panic will creep in the longer it stays goalless, with this scoreline enough to send the visitors through. Still plenty of time to play, of course!

7 minSAVE! Shaqiri gives away a needless free kick, presenting the hosts with a chance to get the ball into the box from wide. It came to little, but Andre Silva did get a shot away from the next attack that Yann Sommer did well to readjust and keep out down low.

9 minMoutinho with a good cross from deep that was well defended. Portugal certainly on top in the early stages, using the atmosphere being generated by their fans to their advantage. Switzerland having to stand strong at the back.

11 minThe first we have seen from La Nati in an attacking sense. Experienced defender Stephan Lichtsteiner with an attempt that was never likely to trouble Rui Patricio in the opposition goal. Up the other end, Joao Mario could not quite get a shot away in the box.

13 minAndre Silva with a silly challenge to give away a free kick, allowing the visitors to regather. Thirteen minutes of the match played and just the one shot of note so far - Silva testing Sommer down low via a deflected attempt.

15 minThe match is going pretty much as expected so far - Portugal on top, with Switzerland happy to sit back and counter now and then. A goal for the Group B pacesetters really would make things extremely difficult for their opponents.

17 minSwitzerland with a couple of dangerous moments, seeing the ball flashed across the face of goal without a telling touch. It is still the Seleccao who look the livelier of the two, though, without creating any serious attacking opportunities.

19 minRonaldo not happy as Mourinho overhits a cross straight out of play. A miscued clearance at the other end had the hosts a little worried, but it came to little in the end. Nearly a quarter of the match played already in Lisbon!

21 minIt is not quite happening for Portugal at the moment. Cedric as overhit three crosses now under little pressure from wide, while Moutinho was also wayward when attempting to pick out Ronaldo inside the penalty box a little earlier.

23 minSwitzerland do look dangerous when they get forward, which is a real worry for their opponents. Petkovic has set his side up well, allowing Portugal to attack them before springing the odd counter-attacking move when the chance to do so presents itself.

25 minThis first half is flying by at the moment - not good news for Portugal! Still yet to have any clear-cut chances, with the only shot of note arriving seven minutes in when Sommer was equal to Andre Silva's deflected effort down low.

27 minYELLOW CARD! Experienced official Cuneyt Cakir is in charge tonight, but he has made a bad call here. Having let Andre Silva get away with a challenge, he harshly booked Remo Freuler for handball - emphasis on the word harshly.

29 minRonaldo has not been on the ball near as much as he would have liked so far. The Real Madrid forward is essentially a striker these days, but his teammates have failed to pick him out in the middle when getting crossed into the box.

31 minThe game has gone a bit flat at the moment which, again, will very much suit the visitors. They will go through to the World Cup finals automatically as things stand; Portugal need a victory to prevent that from happening.

33 minSAVE! A decision for the referee to make, as Seferovic was nudged off balance inside the box. Contact did look to be minimal, though, so he got this one right. Portugal break and Bernardo Silva tests Sommer with a real rocket from 12 yards out.

35 minThat was a good stop from Sommer, who has been the busier of the two keepers so far. Bernardo Silva may have opted to go across goal, but he instead looked to pick out the top corner closest to him, giving the Swiss stopper a better chance of keeping it out.

37 minThe visitors continue to look bright when getting bodies forward, giving their defenders a chance to rest at the same time. A corner was won but sent into the box with a little too much whip, making it almost impossible to turn goalwards.

39 minRonaldo, who has had a quiet first half so far, gets to the byline but can only pick out the gloves of Sommer with his cross. A reminder that, as things stand, Portugal will have to contest in the qualifying playoffs in November.


42 minIt is as sloppy as you like, but Portugal have the goal that they craved! Joao Mario contested for a cross with Sommer and Djourou, with the ball ricocheting off the latter and trickling over the line for the cruellest of own goals.

44 minEliseu was the man who sent in the dangerous cross leading to the breakthrough goal - pretty much the first time the Portugal full-backs have not overhit the ball from wide. For the first time all campaign, the Seleccao are top of Group B.


8.35pmEliseu was cautioned late on in the first half for a late challenge on Shaqiri, soon after Seferovic flicked the ball over the crossbar. Portugal lead at the interval thanks to an unfortunate Johan Djourou own goal late in the half, putting them top of Group B as things stand.

8.38pmPortugal, who had star man Cristiano Ronaldo back in their ranks from the off this evening, had the better of the first half without creating a great deal. Andre Silva was able to test Yann Sommer down low with a deflected attempt early on, which proved to be a rare shot on goal at either end in a fairly uneventful first half.

8.41pmSommer did have to pull off an even bigger stop just after the half-hour mark, this time to keep out a bullet strike from Bernardo Silva that was heading for the top corner. There was to be a breakthrough shortly before the interval, though, as Johan Djourou put into his own net when attempting to clear Eliseu's dangerous left-sided cross. Joao Mario, Sommer and Djourou got into a tangle when attempting to get on the end of the cross, with the ball cruelly tricking over the line after contact from the former Arsenal man.

8.44pmNot been a classic first half, then, but it remains tight and tense with 45 minutes left to play. A Switzerland goal changes everything, as a draw is enough to take them through to the World Cup finals. Here is a quick reminder of both teams' benches at the midway stage...

PORTUGAL SUBS: Lopes, Beto, Bruno Alves, N. Semedo, Antunes, Danilo, Andre Gomes, Renato Sanches, Eder, Guedes, Gelson, Quaresma

SWITZERLAND SUBS: Hitz, Mvogo, Moubandje, Elvedi, Akanji, Lang, Zuber, Frei, Zakaria, Embolo, Gavranovic, Derdiyok

Joao Mario takes credit for the first goal during the World Cup qualifier between Portugal and Switzerland on October 10, 2017© Offside

46 minRESTART! Switzerland, needing a goal to move back above Portugal to the top of Group B, get us back under way at the Estadio da Luz. The visitors have made a half-time change, bringing on Zakaria for the booked Freuler.

48 minZakaria makes a good early impression, bursting down the right and getting into the opposition box. The young midfielder overhit it in the end, but that is a promising sign for the Swiss as they go in search of a leveller in Lisbon.

50 minSAVE! A first save for Portugal's Patricio to make this evening, as Shaqiri takes range from close to 30 yards out. It was a rather disappointing free kick, in truth, with a cross into the box seeming to be the better option.

52 minAn evenly-contested second half so far, with the tension building around the ground. With 38 minutes or so of the Group B campaign left to go, it is still all to play for. Lichtsteiner lucky to avoid seeing a card after stamping on Andre Silva.

54 minRonaldo is growing more into the match, but it has not been his day so far. Another shot from range is blocked, as Switzerland remain strong at the back. The visitors getting forward far more often now, needing a goal in the remaining minutes.


57 minA sensational team goal gives Portugal some breathing space! Passes galore in the build-up to the eventual finish from Andre Silva, converting at the back post with his second touch after being picked out by namesake Bernardo's squared pass.

59 minPortugal had not been at the top of Group B prior to tonight, but they are looking good value to finish at the summit right now. Switzerland now require a couple of goals to salvage it, or else they face the prospect of a two-legged playoff.

61 minSo a rather fortunate opening goal followed up by a superb team move to make it 2-0. Portugal are deserving of their advantage, but they are not quite over the line just yet with a third of the match still left to play in Lisbon.

63 minSWITZERLAND SUB! Petkovic makes his second and third changes of the match, bringing on Zuber and Embolo for Dzemaili and Mehmedi. Embolo scored in the reverse meeting between the two sides when La Nati came out on top 2-0.

65 minCLOSE! Shaqiri not far wide at all with his shot from range. Seferovic close to getting on the end of it in front of goal, but he would have been flagged for offside had he made contact anyway. Switzerland running out of time now.

67 minPORTUGAL SUB! Eliseu, who can claim an assist for the breakthrough goal, is replaced by Antunes with a quarter of the match left to play. Denis Zakaria the latest player to be booked for barging his opponent off the ball.

69 minNot a great deal of action taking place at the moment, which has been the case since Andre Silva scored the second of the match. A Switzerland goal really would make things interesting, but they just do not look like scoring at the moment.

71 minPORTUGAL SUB! Andre Gomes is on for Andre Silva for the final 20 minutes or so. A nice comfortable route through to Russia as things stand for the hosts, which not many people expected prior to a ball being kicked tonight.

73 minSwitzerland, top of Group B for the past 13 months, are looking certain to miss out on an automatic route through. Portugal the more likely to score the game's next goal at the moment, but they are in no particular rush to get the ball forward.

75 minA real disappointing showing from the visitors tonight, having offered very little in an attacking sense. That is all well and good if they kept the opposition out, though they failed to do so and must now pick themselves up for the playoffs.

77 minSAVE! Portugal want a penalty after the ball popped up off an opposition hand inside the box - a corner is all they are getting. It is a well-worked set piece, which ended with centre-back Pepe hitting it right down the middle for Sommer to keep out.

79 minCHANCE! Ronaldo has been disappointing tonight, particularly be his usual high standards. The forward was played clean through on goal, but Sommer won the battle of wits by standing his ground and winning the ball.

81 minWe are now into the final 10 minutes of the match at the Estadio da Luz, where Portugal's lead has never really looked under any threat. Switzerland have been incredibly disappointing tonight, never truly looking likely to score.

83 minSantos still has one more sub available to make should he wish, which will likely be the case to help see things through. Portugal now just minutes away from sealing their place in the 2018 World Cup finals, doing so with nine wins on the spin.

85 minEighty-five minutes on the clock and still La Nati have not really showed any signs of pulling one back. Even now at this late stage a goal for the visitors will change the complexion of things entirely, but there does not look like being a grandstand finale.

87 minSwitzerland seeing a fair bit of the ball now, without doing a great deal with it. Reigning European champions Portugal standing firm at the back to preserve this clean sheet and ensure that there will not be a nervy finish to the match.

89 minThe possession has been split evenly in this second half, which does not truly reflect what we have seen. Portugal have not been at their absolute best tonight, but they did score a fantastic team goal for their second to make sure of the points.

90+1 minWe are now into added time, with Portugal fans now able to celebrate a big win for their side. It could have turned out a lot differently had Djourou not put the ball into the back of his own net late in the first half of the Group B affair.


9.39pmThe full-time whistle sounds at the Estadio da Luz, meaning that Portugal will definitely be at the World Cup in Russia next summer. Victory was required in their final Group B outing and, thanks to a Johan Djourou own goal and close-range Andre Silva strike, they got exactly what they needed in the end. La Nati, meanwhile, must now contest a two-legged playoff next month.

9.41pmThat concludes Sports Mole's live text coverage of events in this Group B qualifier. An on-the-whistle report can be found by clicking here, while a recap of all the other scores from around Europe this evening can be viewed here. Thanks for joining!

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Switzerland's midfielder Granit Xhaka celebrates their victory at the end of a Group E football match between Switzerland and Ecuador at the Mane Garrincha National Stadium in Brasilia during the 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 15, 2014
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