Portugal vs. Israel: Final score 1-1, hosts' automatic qualification hopes dashed

Jared Wickerham

Once again, it looks like Portugal will have to go through a playoff to make a major tournament.

Portugal weren't in control of their own destiny in their chase for an automatic World Cup spot, but they were expected to beat Israel at home and keep the pressure on Russia going into the last match day. Instead, they're almost certainly headed for a playoff, thanks to Eden Ben Basat. He scored Israel's goal in a 1-1 draw that puts Portugal three points behind Russia and well behind on goal differential.

Ricardo Costa punched in the opening goal in the 28th minute, capitalizing on a corner and a huge scramble. Pepe won the original ball into the box, but couldn't finish off the chance. Costa was in perfect position to poke in from close range, giving Portugal a lead.

The hosts seemed content to sit on that one-goal advantage and didn't look like they'd have a problem doing so. Up until the goal, Israel's only effort on target was a tame one in the 52nd minute. Then, five minutes from the end of the regular time, Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patricio gave the ball away to Besat, gifting him the equalizer and shattering Portugal's chances of qualifying for the World Cup directly.

Portugal: Patricio, Pepe, A. Almeida, Costa, Antunes, Veloso (Eder 87'), Moutinho, Micael (Josue 69'), Ronaldo, Nani, H. Almeida (Olivera 70')

Goals: Costa (28')

Israel: Aouate, Meshumar, Ben Haim, Ben Harush, Tibi, Matcho, Zehavi (Demari 83'), Ben Basat, Yeini, Radi (Rafaelov 68'), Barda (Ben Haim 62')

Goals: Ben Benat (85')

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