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We've played to win but didn't turn out as we wanted, admits Fernando Santos

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Santos reflects on Portugal loss

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We've played to win but didn't turn out as we wanted, admits Fernando Santos

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SportsCafe Desk

11/15/2021

Portugal boss Fernando Santo has admitted that the World Cup qualifying match against Serbia didn't go according to plan and placed the blame on himself, but insisted that Portugal will be in Qatar next year for sure. Serbia beat Portugal 2-1 as they sealed qualification for the 2022 World Cup.

Portugal manager Fernando Santo has asserted that his side will qualify for the World Cup next year in Qatar, even though they suffered a last-minute defeat to Serbia that pushed them into the play-offs. The 2016 European champions only needed a draw to secure their place in the World Cup and looked on track to achieve it as they took the lead through Renato Sanches after only two minutes. Ajax playmaker Dusan Tadic scored the equalizer in the 33rd minute from the edge of the box as he unleashed a shot which Rui Patricio was unable to clear from going across the line.

A dramatic final few minutes played out at Lisbon as Aleksander Mitrovic scored a thumping header in the 90th minute to secure a shocking 2-1 victory for Serbia as they finished top of Group A and qualified automatically for the World Cup next year. A host of Portugal players were left stunned including Cristiano Ronaldo as their place at the World Cup was taken away from them in the final seconds of the game. Portugal manager Santos has admitted that his team struggled to get going but insisted that Portugal will cement their place in the World Cup.

“It looked like it was going to be, but it wasn't. We scored the goal, we had the initial moments. But then we started to drop deep a lot. The players tried. But then we didn't turn the game on. Every time we did, we created problems. But most of the time we couldn't. Serbia were better. We tried. Our DNA is to have the ball on our feet and play,” Santos said in his post-match interview.

“Bernardo Silva wanted the ball, but he was the only one. We played with fear and anxiety. It's my responsibility. We'll be in Qatar. We know we didn't do what we should, but we'll be there,” he added.

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