Whistle in celebration, jump with joy, clap your hands together, and dance with excitement! Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal have finally qualified for the finals of the World Cup in South Africa!!!
Yes, the road was tough and at a point, it even seemed like the 2004 European finalists would not make it. Portugal were in danger of missing out on a top two finish in the group stages.
However, after benefiting from Sweden’s slip on match-day 9, the Portuguese were offered a final chance to reach South Africa 2010 by grabbing play-off tickets.
The indeed took all of their chances by clinching the maximum six points and they finished just behind Denmark in second place.
Portugal were paired against Bosnia Herzegovina which they hosted in the first leg. Bruno Alves’ lone goal separated the two sides and gave Portugal a vital edge ahead of the second leg that was played last night in Zenica.
The 1-0 advantage meant that even a 2-1 defeat away to Bosnia Herzegovina would have seen the Portuguese break through to the World Cup that will take stage next year.
Having being so wasteful in the first leg, Carlos Queiros’ side feared that the home side will go all out to attack them. But at the relief of the Portuguese, Bosnia showed little signs of aggressiveness throughout the game.
The first period ended goalless with Portugal looking more likely to score and win. Then came the decisive moment that every Portuguese fans were waiting for: the GOAL!
Manchester United’s winger Luis Nani provided a cross that found the foot of Raul Meireles who simply had to tap the ball into the back of the net.
At that point, Portugal had not only broken the dead lock but also drawn an unbreakable wall between them and their opponents, Bosnia Herzegovina.
With Raul Meireles’ 56th minute opener, it meant that the hosts on the night had to find three goals in less than forty minutes against a Portuguese side that grew more dominant as time passed by.
Well, it wasn’t to be; Portugal kept a clean sheet to seal their 2-0 aggregate over Bosnia Herzegovina which ultimately saw them qualify into the finals of the World Cup that will come up next year.