France take step closer to World Cup berth

France take step closer to World Cup berth

France take step closer to World Cup berth

Blaise Matuidi's early goal proved enough for France to secure a crucial 1-0 victory away to Bulgaria which put them back at the top of World Cup European Qualifying Group A.

Switzerland now goes on to meet Portugal, and it will only take a tie to get the Swiss into the World Cup.

"There is a lot of satisfaction, but it is only one step", he said.

Meanwhile, in the same group Arjen Robben scored one goal and set up another as the Netherlands kept alive their slender hopes of reaching the finals with a 3-1 victory over Belarus.

The Dutch side defeated Belarus 3-1 away from home in Group A despite it looking at one point as if they would drop points, a fantastic free kick in the dying minutes from Memphis Depay sealing the win.

The pressure was on after Sweden had earlier swept past Luxembourg 8-0 to boost their hopes of making it to Russian Federation, which in turn all but eliminated Holland, who later won 3-1 in Belarus. Literally a goal from the dressing room led to the first defeat of the team led by Petar Hubchev before the Bulgarian fans, which is the first of more than two years for the "tricolors" who had five consecutive wins, four of them in these qualifiers. But after a goalless first half Ronaldo was brought on to inevitably rescue the situation, opening the scoring after 63 minutes before Andre Silva added a late second.

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Sweden have a vastly superior goal difference, and the Netherlands' - runners-up three times -participation in Russian Federation looks highly unlikely.

Portugal may yet top their World Cup qualifying group, whilst Holland's chances of going to Russian Federation next year are all but over after another day of World Cup qualifying action. When you have good players, it's normal that to expect us to make the difference.

"On that type of pitch, we were not able to really play our game, but we took advantage of the best player in the world".

Switzerland lead Portugal by three points but have an inferior goal difference.

Belgium maintained their unbeaten World Cup qualifying record as they came from behind to beat Bosnia 4-3 at the Stadion Grbavica. Bosnia equalised through Dario Đumić, but Yannick Carrasco sealed the game with a late victor.

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