LISBON: Cristiano Ronaldo wants Portugal to rebound quickly after the stunning loss that kept the team from securing a spot at next year's World Cup.
Playing at home and needing only a draw to clinch a berth in the tournament in Qatar, Portugal conceded in the 90th minute in Sunday's 2-1 loss to Serbia and was relegated to a playoff that will be held next year with 11 other nations.
“Football has shown us time and time again that sometimes the most difficult paths are the ones that lead us to the most desired outcomes,” Ronaldo said on Instagram on Monday.
Ronaldo was devastated after the late goal, complaining and scolding his teammates in the middle of the pitch while waiting for the game to start. Portugal can overcome letdown after qualifying loss After the last whistle, he sat on the field alone, shaking his head and seemingly empty. Some of his colleagues and opposers came to comfort him. Veteran goalkeeper Rui Patrício was blamed for a foul on the first goal when he could not hold on to the ball after Tadic's shot hit the Portuguese defender. Coach Fernando Santos was also under pressure and heard calls for his resignation at home.
"I'm sad and upset but I still have confidence in myself and my players," said Santos. "The end result was not good but there is no reason not to trust ourselves." Portugal came out on top in an already defeated Ireland. He entered the final round tied with Serbia after seven games but had a chance to score evenly due to a better goal difference. "Tribulation" and "Shame on the World" were among the headlines in a Portuguese newspaper on Monday. 
Portugal can overcome letdown after qualifying loss: Portugal will have to face the playoffs with nine other runners-up and two group winners in the UEFA Nations League. Portugal vs Serbia The 12 nations will play next March in three of the four teams, with the losing teams winning the home game in the semi-finals. Portugal vs Serbia Portugal has played in all of the World Cups since 2002 after failing to qualify for the tournament from 1990-1998. It was released by Uruguay in the Round 16 of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Serbia has already scored two goals in a 2-2 draw with Portugal in their qualifier in March.
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