Soccer’s Biggest Show Will Have Its Biggest Star: Ronaldo And Portugal Qualify For 2022 World Cup

It was a hell of a run North Macedonia.

Before Portugal’s World Cup qualifying playoff game vs. North Macedonia Cristiano Ronaldo said, “There is no World Cup without Portugal.” Have no fear soccer fans, there will be a World Cup this year courtesy of Portugal defeating North Macedonia 2-0 on Tuesday to secure a spot in the 2022 World Cup.

Fans feared they might not see Ronaldo at the World Cup after the initial UEFA playoff draw pitted Portugal and defending European champions Italy in the same bracket. North Macedonia bailed out Portugal with a massive upset.

The Lynxes couldn’t pull off a second shocking upset in Porto, Portugal, on Tuesday. The valiant North Macedonia defense that shut out Italy was breached in the 32nd minute courtesy of a horrendous pass from Stefan Ristovski. With little pressure on Ristovski he forced a pass that was intercepted by Bruno Fernandes and will give the defender nightmares for years to come.

Ronaldo picked up an assist as Bruno Fernandes slotted home the goal to break Macedonian hearts.

Portugal had some decent chances before the opening goal, but the game still looked open for the taking for either side. North Macedonia wasn’t on the ropes in this game like it was for the entirety of the Italy game.

Portugal did just enough to win. Trailing a goal, the Lynxes were forced to push men forward to find an equalizer in the second half. This would end up playing right into Portugal’s hands as one quick counterattack in the 65th minute caught North Macedonia out of position. Fernandes secured a brace and booked Portugal’s ticket to Qatar.

The wind was taken out of the Lynxes’ sails after the second Fernandes goal which led to a rather slow final 25 minutes. The only other spicy moment of the second half was when Diogo Jota and Ezgjan Alioski were either fighting or flirting. I’m still not sure which.

Portugal secures a spot at the 2022 World Cup and one of the coveted Pot 1 places for the draw on Friday. 

If Ronaldo somehow ends up completing his trophy cabinet with a World Cup, I think he needs to give some sort of credit to those brave players from North Macedonia. I don’t think that this Portugal side would get the job done against Italy, but the Lynxes made sure that wasn’t an obstacle.

Congratulations to Portugal for making the World Cup, but a big thank you to North Macedonia for making things so fun.

Portugal vs North Macedonia Full Highlights