“Football has shown us time and time again that, at times, it is the most winding paths that lead us to the most desired outcomes.

“Yesterday's result [on Sunday] was tough, but not enough to take us down. The objective of being present at the 2022 World Cup is still very much alive and we know what we have to do to get there. No excuses. Portugal is heading to Qatar”, wrote the captain of the Portuguese team, on his official Instagram page.

The Portuguese national team only needed a draw against the Serbian team to be able to have direct qualification, however despite a dream start with Renato Sanches hitting the back of the net in only the second minute, the Serbs came back with a goal by Dusan Tadic in the 33rd minute while Aleksandar Mitrovic, sealed the victory in the 90th minute.

The last three European places for the 2022 World Cup will be disputed in March by the 10 runners-up of the groups of the first phase and by two teams from the League of Nations.