France on brink of World Cup

Saul Bowman
October 9, 2017

France did however get the win they needed to keep qualification in their own hands, Blaise Matuidi's third minute goal was enough for a 1-0 win to retake top spot.

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

At the 84th minute, Arejen Robben scored with a penalty kick to put the Netherlands ahead 2-1, then Memphis Depay wrapped it up for the final 3-1 victory. 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.

But they now face a near impossible task, as Sweden thrashed Luxembourg 8-0 earlier on Saturday, with forward Marcus Berg scoring four goals, to extend their advantage over Dick Advocaat's men on goal difference to 12.

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

Deschamps led France to the quarter-finals at the 2014 World Cup, while they were runners-up at Euro 2016 on home soil. Presumably wanting to rest their talisman, coach Fernando Santos started with Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench.

"If we can qualify, we will have a role to play". There is only one game left, and that depends only on us.

Switzerland lead Portugal by three points but have an inferior goal difference. Both teams are still looking for a first and second place-finish out of Group A of the competition and should provide an entertaining match.

Bosnia's hopes of qualifying for the World Cup, meanwhile, suffered a blow after the squad lost at home 4-3 against Belgium, which has already secured a berth in Russian Federation.

Goals from Haris Medunjanin and Edin Visca put the Bosnians ahead in Sarajevo after Belgium full-back Thomas Muenier's early strike, but Michy Batshuayi and Jan Vertonghen turned things around.

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