Portugal and France secure World Cup qualification for 2018

Esther Moore
October 13, 2017

The job of World Cup qualification isn't done yet for France, who sit in first place in Group A of UEFA qualifying, but have not yet secured themselves a spot in Russian Federation next summer.

The Swiss had led the group since beating Portugal 2-0 in Basel in their opening match in September past year and gone on to win all nine matches before Wednesday's (NZT) encounter in Lisbon, while Portugal had won their subsequent eight.

Didier Deschamps' side know a victory over Belarus - live on the Sky Sports Football red button - will book their place in Russian Federation next year.

Griezmann opened the scoring and then set up Olivier Giroud before the break while Belarus reduced the arrears on the stroke of halftime through Anton Saroka.

Sweden's superior goal difference over France means a draw against the Netherlands would move them into first if Belarus claim an unlikely win at the Stade de France.

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In the end, France were able to ride out the game and the Netherlands beat Sweden 2-0 to make the result irrelevant, but this was an uninspired performance in a potentially vital match.

Arjen Robben drew first blood for Holland with a 16th minute penalty before netting his second 24 minutes later.

Missing out on the World Cup caps a remarkable demise for the Netherlands, who were runners-up at the 2010 tournament in South Africa and third in Brazil in 2014.

Whoever misses out on top spot is guaranteed a place in the play-offs.

Belgium's Eden Hazard scored twice and his brother Thorgan also got on the scoresheet in a 4-0 win over Cyprus in Brussels. Hungary host Faroe Islands and Latvia take on Andorra in the group's other encounters.

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