Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat trick against Sweden to lead Portugal to its fourth straight World Cup berth.
The 28-year-old striker scored all three of his team’s goals Tuesday in a performance that had even Sweden’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic applauding.
“It felt complicated for a moment after they scored,” Ronaldo said after the 3-2 second leg victory (via Associated Press.) “We suffered a little bit and then, well, we scored two more goals.”
Ronaldo had all of Portugal’s goals in a 4-2 aggregate victory that eliminated Sweden. Ibrahimovic scored the only other goals in the series.
“Of course I’m disappointed. I wanted to play the World Cup,” Ibrahimovic said (via Associated Press.) “We did our best. Unfortunately, we played against a better team — better than us, no doubt.”
Ronaldo, who plays for Real Madrid, has 26 career hat tricks, with 24 coming at the club level and two in international games.
The final World Cup berth will be determined Wednesday night, when Uruguay plays Jordan in the second leg, leading 5-0.
The draw for the tournament in Rio de Janeiro will take place Dec. 6 at Bahia, Brazil.
The following countries have qualified for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil:
North, Central America and Caribbean: