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France closing in on World Cup finals spot

France closing in on World Cup finals spot”

The early kick off in Group A saw already qualified Belgium won a seven goal thriller with Bosnia and Herzegovina 4-3, in a game that saw Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini limp off with an injury to his left knee.

FC Copenhagen striker Pieros Sotiriou put Cyprus ahead early on as they looked for a win to maintain hopes of a play-off place, but two goals in three first-half minutes from Kostas Mitroglou and Alexandros Tziolis sent Greece two points clear of Bosnia.

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.

Group leaders France travel to Bulgaria on Saturday, holding a one-point advantage over Sweden, who host Luxembourg. Those results mean the likes of Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland (the latter two face off in a victor takes all meeting on Monday) will be guaranteed a playoff place if they win their final games.

France lost N'Golo Kante to a hamstring problem in the latter stages of the first period as Adrien Rabiot entered the field, and Bulgaria should have been level in the 36th minute when Hugo Lloris made a meal of a strike from Simeon Slavchev, but the Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper somehow kept out a close-range header from Georgi Kostadinov.

The best eight second-placed teams go through a two-legged playoff.

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Portugal claimed an unconvincing 2-0 win over minnows Andorra at Estadi Nacional.

The European champions had to wait until the 63rd minute for Ronaldo to break the deadlock on the artificial pitch, before Andre Silva finally put their nerves to bed.

Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka opened the scoring on 18 minutes before Fabian Frei swiftly added a second to put the Swiss in control.

Portugal go into that game with Switzerland three points behind their rivals but with a much better goal difference meaning the victor will be guaranteed a place in Russian Federation nest summer. Presumably wanting to rest their talisman, coach Fernando Santos started with Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench.

Faroe Islands drew 0-0 against Latvia in a Group B match on Saturday.



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