SEB LARSSON’S World Cup dreams are over after Sweden were slayed by a brilliant Ronaldo hat-trick tonight.
The Sunderland midfielder was hoping to secure his first appearance at a World Cup finals after previously appearing for Sweden at two European Championships.
But Sweden’s hopes of qualifying for a spot in Brazil were ended in the second leg of their play-off with Portugal tonight after a stunning second half treble from Ronaldo.
Larsson had spurned a glorious opportunity to draw Sweden - who trailed 1-0 from the first leg - level in the tie, in the early exchanges of the second half when his shot from six yards out was saved.
That miss was punished moments later when Ronaldo burst away to double Portugal’s advantage and give them the bonus of an away goal.
But Sweden refused to surrender and looked to have set up a rousing finale with two goals in five minutes from Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Five minutes later though, Ronaldo drew Portugal level on the night before immediately firing home a third goal to seal his country’s spot in next summer’s tournament.
Larsson was one of six Sunderland players in action tonight; none of which featured on the winning side.
John O’Shea was given a longer outing than he expected in the Republic of Ireland’s stalemate in Poland.
Former Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill had named an experimental line-up for his second game at the helm, with Black Cats stopper Keiren Westwood and O’Shea starting on the bench.
But Sunderland skipper O’Shea was introduced in the 32nd minute after Leicester’s Sean St Ledger came off injured, while Westwood was unused.
Jozy Altidore completed 90 minutes for the USA in their 1-0 defeat in Austria.
South Korean pair Ki Sung-Yeung and Ji Dong-won both featured in a 2-1 friendly defeat to Russia, in Dubai.
Ki played just over an hour, while Ji was introduced from the bench for the final 20 minutes.
And Charis Mavrias played the entirety of Greece Under-21s’ 3-1 defeat to Poland in a European Championship qualifier.