World Cup Qualifiers Portugal vs Turkey.

Obituaries for Cristiano Ronaldo's glittering international career were being drafted earlier this week.

The thought was that if Portugal failed to qualify for this year's World Cup then soccer's all-time leading scorer might just call it a day.

And the chances of Portugal not qualifying for Qatar 2022 looked considerable as they prepared for a knockout semi-final against a dangerous Turkey side,

With the winner then likely to face European champions Italy in a playoff final.

But a lot can change in 90 minutes. And it did. Portugal did their bit, beating Turkey 3-1 in Porto.

Meanwhile, a massive shock played out 1,200 miles away in Palermo where Italy were beaten 1-0 by North Macedonia courtesy of a 92nd-minute suckerpunch.

All of a sudden, Portugal were clear odds-on favorites to qualify for the World Cup draw on April 1 and the Ronaldo tributes were shelved for now.

Of course, Portugal are not there yet. North Macedonia's win in Italy proves that odds should be taken with a pinch of salt ahead of Tuesday's decider.

Ronaldo and Co could still fall at the final hurdle if they show complacency. Indeed, they received a scare during their victory over Turkey.

Portugal were 2-0 up at half-time thanks to goals from Otavio and Diogo Jota. But Turkey got back into the game via a Burak Yilmaz strike on 65 minutes.

Then five minutes from the end, Turkey won a penalty and up stepped Yilmaz with the chance to tie the game at 2-2.

Had he scored, momentum would have been with Turkey and the atmosphere inside the Estadio do Dragao could have become uncomfortable for the home team.

But Yilmaz missed the target, Portugal breathed a huge sigh of relief and then went on to score a third goal in added time through Matheus Luiz.


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