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Ireland won't be playing Ronaldo and Portugal in the play-offs after tonight's result in Lisbon

Switzerland’s 100% record came to an end against the Euro 2016 champions.

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, left, challenges for the ball with Switzerland's Fabian Schar.
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, left, challenges for the ball with Switzerland's Fabian Schar.

Updated at 22.35

IRELAND DEFINITELY WON’T be playing Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal in the play-offs, after the Euro 2016 champions beat Switzerland 2-0 to secure an automatic spot in the 2018 World Cup.

An own goal from Johan Djourou and a second-half effort from Andre Silva ensured the Portuguese pipped the Swiss to qualification on goal difference.

As a result, Ireland will now face one of the following four teams in the play-offs: Italy, Croatia, Denmark or Switzerland.

Switzerland, who beat Portugal 2-0 at home last year, had won all nine previous qualifiers but must overcome a two-legged play-off in November to earn a fourth straight World Cup appearance.

Ronaldo, who was injured for the opening qualifying defeat in Basel, returned to the Portugal line-up after coming off the bench to notch the opening goal in a lacklustre 2-0 win in Andorra on Saturday.

Switzerland were attempting to join defending champions Germany — and Spain ahead of the 2010 finals — as the only nations to complete a European World Cup qualifying campaign with a perfect record.

But AC Milan striker Andre Silva forced Yann Sommer into a smart early save from his deflected shot, with the Swiss goalkeeper then forced to make a terrific stop to tip over Bernardo Silva’s venomous effort.

A clumsy challenge in the area on Switzerland forward Haris Seferovic by Benfica team-mate Eliseu went unpunished as the visitors made a rare foray deep into the Portuguese half.

US pop star Madonna was among the crowd at the Estadio da Luz which erupted when Djourou inadvertently bundled a dangerous cross from Eliseu beyond Sommer four minutes before the break under heavy pressure from Joao Mario.

Xherdan Shaqiri tried to deceive Portugal keeper Rui Patricio with an ambitious free-kick early in the second period, but Portugal doubled their advantage with a brilliant team goal on 57 minutes.

Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva exchanged passes with former Monaco team-mate Joao Moutinho, threading through the return pass for an unmarked Andre Silva to steer in at the far post.

Switzerland go into the play-offs as the best of the eight runners-up to advance, with Slovakia missing out as the worst of the nine second-placed sides.

Vladimir Petkovic’s team will be among the seeded countries for the play-off draw on October 17 and could face Sweden, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland or Greece for a place at Russia 2018.

Additional reporting by AFP

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Paul Fennessy

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