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On Sunday, there were euphoric scenes amongst the Serbia squad as they defeated Portugal 2-1 in Lisbon - with Aleksandar Mitrovic bagging a late winner.
It meant Serbia secured top spot in Group A and qualified for the showpiece in Qatar.
Portugal must now progress through the play-offs and there was monumental disappointment from Fernando Santos' players at the final whistle.
Captain and record goalscorer Ronaldo was utterly distraught and looked on the verge of tears.
🇵🇹 Cristiano Ronaldo was in tears after Portugal lost to a last minute goal against Serbia pic.twitter.com/WHGnsS8WVW— Football Daily (@footballdaily) November 15, 2021
And according to Santos, Ronaldo reminded a Serbia player about his late winner that crossed the line but was controversially not awarded back in March.
"It doesn't make sense," Santos told TVI.
"When the game was over, the disappointment was brutal.
"If it was for the Portuguese, imagine for the players and staff. The players were on the ground.
"I went to the field to support and comfort the players, he [Ronaldo] was telling a Serbian player: 'You wouldn't be laughing if the goal I scored there hadn't been cancelled out'. What I told you was to take it easy."
In the March clash, Ronaldo thought he had scored to make it 3-2 to Portugal but defender Stefan Mitrovic raced back in. The ball had actually crossed the line and yet because there was no VAR, it was not given.
This Cristiano Ronaldo strike never counted the first time Portugal faced Serbia.— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) November 15, 2021
If it had been given, they would be heading straight to the World Cup on goal difference 😬 pic.twitter.com/LyhpoZXUJF
Had it counted, Portugal would have progressed to the World Cup ahead of Serbia.
Ronaldo was so angry with the decision that he vented to the linesman, left the pitch before the final whistle was blown and threw his captain's armband on the turf in disgust.
Cristiano Ronaldo walked off the pitch before the final whistle at the end of the Serbia-Portugal game, and threw his captain's armband in frustration. pic.twitter.com/I2i9uwkPhM— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) March 27, 2021
Ronaldo didn't register a single shot on target against Serbia and was slammed for attempting a speculative effort late on when Portugal were pushing for a last-gasp leveller.
Euro 2016 winners Portugal are seeded for the play-offs and so will avoid a semi-final showdown with reigning European champions Italy, who also failed to qualify automatically.
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