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FIFA World Cup European Qualifying

Olympic Stadium (Athens) (ATT 15,000) 18th November 2009 - Kick off 19:45 Ref: R Rosetti

Bos&Herz Bosnia and Herzegovina vs Portugal Portugal

Bos&Herz 0

S Salihovic (S/O 77)

ft

Portugal 1

R Meireles (55)

Portugal overcome Bosnia

Meireles hits winner as Salihovic is sent off

Last Updated: 18/11/09 11:06pm

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Meireles: Scored winner

Meireles: Scored winner

Portugal negotiated a tricky tie to qualify for the World Cup after a 1-0 success in Bosnia-Herzegovina sealed a 2-0 aggregate victory.

Carlos Queiroz's side headed into the second leg in front thanks to Bruno Alves' goal on home soil, but Bosnia-Herzegovina had been unfortunate to be trailing after being denied by the woodwork three times in Portugal.

However, Portugal made no mistake in the return as Raul Meireles' goal after 56 minutes was enough to guarantee a safe passage through to South Africa.

The hosts' bid to claw back the deficit in the closing stages was hampered on 76 minutes when Sejad Salihovic was sent off.

Portugal were well-drilled throughout, with Pepe leading the defence impressively as a holding midfielder with Bruno Alves behind him.

Their efficient set-up reduced Bosnia-Herzegovina to only half chances and suffocated attacks with Braga goalkeeper Eduardo having little to do.

In the 25th minute Bosnia-Herzegovina were forced onto the back foot as Portugal cleverly worked the ball forward with short passing. The move resulted in a chance when Tiago and Meireles teamed up to force Kenan Hasagic into an impressive save.

By this point Bosnia-Herzegovina were reduced to pumping the ball forward aimlessly and only when Chelsea reserve right-back Paulo Ferreira failed to deal with Edin Dzeko's 43rd minute cross did Portugal look to be in any sort of danger.

Stifled

The start of the second half was not any better for the home side as Portugal stifled their creative play before passing the ball forward.

The central midfield axis of Tiago and Meireles were key figures with Nani and Simao either side of Liedson up front.

Eleven minutes into the half Meireles got on the end of a superb move. Tiago found Nani on the left and with Liedson's dummy run fooling the defence, the Porto midfielder got on the end of the Manchester United winger's cross to fire home emphatically.

The goal came as a huge relief to Nani, who minutes earlier wasted a one-on-one opportunity when Hasagic saved.

It also served as a hammer blow to Bosnia-Herzegovina and any remaining wind was taken out of their sails when Zlatan Muslimovic wasted a golden chance.

Portugal played with increased freedom from there on in. Goalscorer Meireles had further chances in the 57th and 71st minutes while Edinho should have added some well-deserved gloss to the scoreline in extra-time.

Dzeko - the only Bosnia-Herzegovina player who looked on form - created a chance nine minutes from time only to fire wide.

Portugal held firm to ride out worthy winners, ending a very poor qualifying campaign on a high with by far their best performance of the Queiroz era.

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Tables

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group A

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Belgium 10 26
2 Croatia 10 17
3 Serbia 10 14
4 Scotland 10 11
5 Wales 10 10
6 Macedonia 10 7

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group B

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Italy 10 22
2 Denmark 10 16
3 Czech Republic 10 15
4 Bulgaria 10 13
5 Armenia 10 13
6 Malta 10 3

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group C

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Germany 10 28
2 Sweden 10 20
3 Austria 10 17
4 Republic of Ireland 10 14
5 Kazakhstan 10 5
6 Faroe Islands 10 1

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group D

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Netherlands 10 28
2 Romania 10 19
3 Hungary 10 17
4 Turkey 10 16
5 Estonia 10 7
6 Andorra 10 0

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group E

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Switzerland 10 24
2 Iceland 10 17
3 Slovenia 10 15
4 Norway 10 12
5 Albania 10 11
6 Cyprus 10 5

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group F

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Russia 10 22
2 Portugal 10 21
3 Israel 10 14
4 Azerbaijan 10 9
5 Northern Ireland 10 7
6 Luxembourg 10 6

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group G

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Bosnia and Herzegovina 10 25
2 Greece 10 25
3 Slovakia 10 13
4 Lithuania 10 11
5 Latvia 10 8
6 Liechtenstein 10 2

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group H

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 England 10 22
2 Ukraine 10 21
3 Montenegro 10 15
4 Poland 10 13
5 Moldova 10 11
6 San Marino 10 0

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group I

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Spain 8 20
2 France 8 17
3 Finland 8 9
4 Georgia 8 5
5 Belarus 8 4

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