Ghana, Portugal, Senegal and Poland through to Qatar 2022
Ghana, Portugal, Senegal and Poland have booked their spots at the 2022 Football World Cup in Qatar after victories on Tuesday.
Ghana 1-1 Nigeria
Ghana became the first African nation to reach the 2022 World Cup in Qatar after forcing their arch-rivals Nigeria to a 1-1 draw in Abuja, to qualify on the away goals rule.
However, there were ugly scenes at full-time as angry Super Eagles fans peppered Ghana’s players and staff with water bottles thrown from the stands as they left the pitch.
Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey gave the Black Stars a shock lead against the run of play in the 10th minute, before Watford defender William Trost-Ekong levelled from the penalty spot 12 minutes later after Ademola Lookman was fouled.
Ghana coach Otto Addo’s game management was spot on as his team kept a defensive shape to earn a fourth appearance at the global showpiece.
Partey’s early strike and goalkeeper Francis Uzoho’s error helped Ghana advance to the finals on the away goals rule after the first leg finished goalless on Friday.
The Black Stars had missed out on Russia 2018, and their qualification denied Nigeria a fourth successive outing at the World Cup finals.
Portugal 2-0 North Macedonia
Bruno Fernandes sent Portugal to the World Cup with a double in their play-off final win over North Macedonia.
Fernandes won the ball in midfield, played a one-two with Manchester United team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo and fired home from the edge of the box to open the scoring in Porto.
He then volleyed in Diogo Jota’s cross for the second having helped start the move himself outside his own box.
The Macedonians, who stunned Italy in the semis, offered little throughout.
They never looked like reaching a first World Cup and failed to test Portugal goalkeeper Diogo Costa once.
Portugal qualify for their sixth World Cup in a row with Ronaldo, 37, going to the tournament for a fifth and potentially final time.
Senegal 1-0 Egypt
Sadio Mane scored the winning penalty in a shootout to send Senegal to the 2022 World Cup after Liverpool team-mate Mohamed Salah missed his spot-kick for Egypt.
In a repeat of February’s Africa Cup of Nations final, Senegal were left jubilant at the final whistle after winning on penalties, with Egypt’s players disconsolate and Salah – one of the world’s best players – left contemplating his absence from November’s tournament in Qatar.
The second leg of the play-off tie in Senegal’s new 50,000-seater stadium finished 1-0 to the hosts and 1-1 on aggregate after extra time, sending the game to a tense and dramatic shootout.
Mane had netted the penalty which won the Nations Cup and the Reds forward notched the decisive spot-kick once again after keeper Edouard Mendy had given Senegal an advantage by saving from Mostafa Mohamed at 2-1.
Egypt captain Salah was one of four players to miss the first four penalties of a shootout marked by a vast number of green laser pointers directed at the visiting players and goalkeeper.
Senegal’s Boulaye Dia was the scorer of the only goal in normal time – notching after just four minutes with a shot that hit the body of Pharaohs defender Hamdi Fathi.
Poland 2-0 Sweden
Poland are through to the World Cup in Qatar after Robert Lewandowski and Piotr Zielinski’s goals gave them a play-off final win over Sweden.
Lewandowski’s penalty early in the second half, after a foul on Grzegorz Krychowiak, broke the deadlock.
Zielinski took advantage of a defensive lapse to run clear and settle the tie in favour of the home side.
The draw for the finals takes place this Friday in Doha with the World Cup getting under way on 21 November.
It will be the first time the tournament has been moved from its usual summer slot, in order for games to be played in milder winter temperatures in the Gulf.
And Poland will be there after a hard-fought victory over a Sweden side that played a huge part in denying them a place in the knockout stages of Euro 2020. (BBC Sport)