The Red Flames will still have to wait for their first ever World Cup. Belgium suffered a 2-1 defeat against Portugal in the first round of the 2023 World Cup qualifiers, which will be held next year in Australia and New Zealand, on Thursday evening at FC Verilla Stadium in Visela. Although battered by enthusiasm and the Portuguese tactical apparatus, the Red Flame inherited its first dangerous opportunity. Tessa Woolaert took advantage of the ball loss to slide towards goal, but after two Portuguese players chased after her, she was unable to catch Patricia Moraes (14th place).
The Belgians, the dominant ones, ended up spending the money. Did not attack the left side Joanna Marshaw had plenty of time to adjust his position towards Diana Silva, passed in front of her opponent to adjust Nikki Everr (1-0, 29).
Underwater, Belgium took advantage of the VAR intervention to get back into the match. Indeed, a blow from Janis Kayman, blocked by the Portuguese’s arm, forced Ukrainian referee Katerina Monzul to decide on the penalty. Flames captain Tessa Wallart took charge and scored the penalty (1-1, 40), marking her 70th goal for the national team.
In the second half, Belgium thought they were ahead when Wallart fired deep, and the Portuguese goalkeeper adjusted but the Belgian goal was canceled after the intervention of a new video referee (73). Up in the 80th minute, Amber Teshyak initially thought he would take a penalty in the 88th minute, but after a new intervention from the VAR, the referee gave a free kick and disqualified Tessiak for his mistake as being the last player (88). A free kick ended the race on the crossbar, but Fatma Pinto’s header from a straight corner kick gave Portugal qualification (2-1, 89th place).
After this win over Belgium (FIFA 19), Portugal (FIFA 27) will face Iceland (FIFA 14) in the second round on Tuesday in Pacos de Ferreira.
The Red Flame, which reached the quarter-finals of the European Championship this summer, did not qualify for the World Cup. In 2019, they were defeated by Switzerland in the play-off match.