Portugal World Cup qualifying

A Cristiano Ronaldo-less Portugal ended their season on a high with a friendly win over Italy - a defeat which sees the Azzurri lose their top-seeding for the World Cup qualifying draw.

The Real Madrid man bailed his country out with a hat-trick against minnows Armenia in their Euro 2016 qualifiers just three days earlier, but wasn't needed against Italy as Eder netted the only goal of the game.

The goal was the Braga striker's first goal for his country in 18 appearances, as he converted from close range following good work by Porto's Ricardo Quaresma.

The loss was Italy's first since their World Cup defeat to Uruguay almost a year ago, and now means Croatia will enjoy a seeded spot amongst Europe's elite for Russia 2018, having drawn with Italy just three days ago.

Italy came closest to taking the lead as Leonardo Bonucci turned one of the Andrea Pirlo's trademark free-kicks against the post just after the break, and Matteo Darmian could only fire the rebound off target.

Battle: Portugal's Jose Fonte fights for the ball with Alessandro Matri of Italy

Eder put Portugal ahead moments later, meeting a phenomenal curling cross from Quaresma to poke home from a few yards out.

Alessandro Matri came close to levelling in stoppage time, before a fingertip save from Beto denied substitute Franco Vazquez a last-gasp equaliser.


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