Italy OUT of World Cup after loss to North Macedonia, Portugal through to final

Good morning football fans

Wales have put one foot into the World Cup win after a 2-1 victory over Austria in the play offs.

A stunning double courtesy of Gareth Bale ensured Wales made it past a tough Austria side.

Bale scored a stunning free kick in the first half before matching his magic in the second period with a sublime strike.

Wales are now odds-on at 4-6 with bookmaker Coral to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar later this year, following their victory over Austria this evening in Cardiff.

Portugal were also victorious and thumped Turkey 3-1 in the play off tie.

Goals from Otavio, Diogo Jota and Matheus Nunes were enough to see Portugal through.

Although they had a late scare when Turkey missed a last-gasp penalty before Nunes scored Portugal’s third.

However, Wales and Portugal won’t be joined in the finals by Italy who were sent packing after a shock 1-0 loss to North Macedonia.

The Italians’ World Cup dreams came crashing down when the Macedonians scored a winner in the last minutes of stoppage time.

Roberto Mancini’s men walked off the pitch to boos and jeers from the fans as Italy miss out on World Cup qualification for the second time in a row.

Czech Republic will also miss the World Cup after they were beaten 1-0 by Sweden in the closing stages of extra time.

The two nations were on the verge of a penalty shoot-out when Robin Quaison struck home with a close range low shot.

The Swedes got the job done without the suspended Zlatan Ibrahimovic who was full of praise for compatriot Anthony Elanga before the game.

Ibrahimovic said of the Man United starlet: “He is a great talent – we are proud and happy that he comes from Sweden.

“He has all the future ahead of him, and if he continues just as he has done, it looks positive.”

Finally, Portugal will now face North Macedonia in the finals, while Wales will have to wait for Scotland and Ukraine’s play off tie to take place.

The tie was delayed until June after Russia invaded Ukraine, but Scots boss Steve Clarke doubts that will be the case.

In the other play-off final, Sweden go up against Poland, with all games going ahead on Tuesday March 29.


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