Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal have North Macedonia as their last hurdle if they want to qualify for the World Cup 2022 tournament on Qatari soil. The Portuguese team found themselves in the playoffs after finishing runners-up behind Serbia in Group A of the first round in the European section of the World Cup 2022 qualifiers.
Only the group winners sealed passage to the World Cup 2022 tournament in the first round of the European qualifiers. To this effect, Portugal had to settle for a place in the second round also known as the playoff round.
Portugal were drawn alongside Turkey, Italy and North Macedonia in path C of the second round after the draw was held. Portugal and Turkey were drawn against each other in one of the two semifinals in path C, while Italy and lowly North Macedonia were drawn together in the other semifinal.Portugal and Italy had home advantage ahead of their one-legged clash with Turkey and North Macedonia respectively in the semifinals as far as path C is concerned.
Immediate past European champions Portugal raced into a two-goal lead in their playoff clash with Turkey thanks to the goals from FC Porto attacking midfielder Otavio and in-form Liverpool attacker Diogo Jota. Burak Yilmaz pulled one back for Turkey on 65 minutes before he missed out on the chance to force extra time at the Estadio do Dragao in Porto for his team. The Lille striker blazed his penalty over the crossbar as Portugal earned a reprieve. The Portuguese team went on to seal the result with a third goal from Sporting Lisbon midfielder Matheus Nunes on 94 minutes.
After beating Turkey 3-1 at the Estadio do Dragao on Thursday night, Portugal will now face North Macedonia in the playoff final in path C of the European qualifiers for the World Cup 2022 tournament at the same venue on Tuesday. The winner of the game will qualify for the World Cup tournament in Qatar. North Macedonia reached the final by beating hosts Italy 1-0.