Ronaldo treble sends Portugal to World Cup

A STUNNING hat-trick from Cristiano Ronaldo ensured World Cup qualification for Portugal at the expense of Sweden last night.

Leading 1-0 from the first leg, Ronaldo fired in the opening goal of the qualification play-off on 50 minutes, but a quick-fire double from Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic levelled the tie on aggregate.

Ronaldo then struck twice in three minutes to swing the second leg back in the visitors’ favour, who deservedly progressed.

Liverpool’s Mamadou Sakho struck a goal in each half as France overturned a 2-0 first-leg deficit against Ukraine in Paris to win 3-2 on aggregate and reach next year’s finals in Brazil.

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema was also on target against the side who had finished runners-up to England in their qualification group.

Iceland missed the chance to reach the finals of a major tournament for the first time in their history, suffering a 2-0 defeat to 10-man Croatia in Zagreb.

Mario Mandzukic opened the scoring, before being later sent off. Darijo Srna sealed the win by the same aggregate score.

Greece, with a 3-1 first-leg advantage, drew 1-1 with Romania to qualify.

Konstantinos Mitroglou opened the scoring in the first half, before a Vasilios Torosidis own goal gave Romania faint hope.

Ghana and Algeria also booked their places at next year’s finals, completing play-off wins against Egypt and Burkina Faso respectively.­