France and Portugal going to World Cup

France and Portugal booked their passage to the 2018 World Cup as winners of their respective groups, while the Netherlands failed to reach the play-offs.

Didier Deschamps’ France were confirmed as Group A winners on Monday after they beat Belarus 2-1 at Stade de France in their final World Cup qualifier.

All three goals were scored in the first half as Les Bleus took a 2-0 lead through Antoine Griezmann (27′) and Olivier Giroud (33'), before Anton Saroka (44′) pulled one back for the visitors.

Sweden finished runners-up in the group, despite going down 2-0 to the Netherlands at the Amsterdam ArenA.

A first-half brace from Arjen Robben (16′ pen, 40′) was not enough to take the Oranje above Janne Andersson’s side, who ended the qualifying campaign with a superior goal difference after being tied on 19 points.

Portugal also secured automatic qualification to Russia 2018 after a 2-0 win over Switzerland saw them win Group B on goal difference.

The Swiss were leading the group going into the final qualifier, but found themselves trailing at the break through Johan Djourou’s 41st-minute own-goal, with Andre Silva (57′) sealing the win for Fernando Santos’ men in the second half, and with it top spot.

Meanwhile, Belgium cruised to a 4-0 win over Cyprus at the King Baudouin Stadium to finish nine points clear at the Group H summit, having gone unbeaten through the campaign.

Eden Hazard (12′, 52′, 63′ pen) starred for the Red Devils with a hat-trick before Romelu Lukaku (78′) wrapped up the three points.

Greece keep their World Cup dream alive with a 4-0 victory over whipping boys Gibraltar at the Karaiskakis Stadium taking them into the play-offs.

The Greeks only had one goal to show for their efforts in the first half, scored by Vassilis Torosidis in the 32nd minute, but a quick-fire brace from Kostas Mitroglou (61′, 63′) settled the nerves and Giannis Gianniotas completed the rout 12 minutes from time.

A slip-up would have opened the door for Bosnia-Herzegovina to clinch the runners-up position, and they gave themselves every chance by triumphing 2-1 against Estonia at A. Le Coq Arena.

Izet Hajrovic (48′, 84′) struck twice for the visitors in Tallinn to secure victory, after Ilja Antonov (75′) had briefly restored parity in the closing stages.

However, it was not be as Greece finished two points ahead of them in the group.

UEFA World Cup qualifying results:

France 2-1 Belarus

Luxembourg 1-1 Bulgaria

Netherlands 2-0 Sweden

Hungary 1-0 Faroe Islands

Latvia 4-0 Andorra

Portugal 2-0 Switzerland

Belgium 4-0 Cyprus

Estonia 1-2 Bosnia-Herzegovina

Greece 4-0 Gibraltar

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