Published: Tue, October 10, 2017
Global | By Maureen Mccoy

Matuidi puts France in control of their World Cup destiny

Matuidi puts France in control of their World Cup destiny

Matuidi struck after three minutes with a fine angled shot and Bulgaria had their best chance denied by Hugo Lloris before half-time.

But it now faces a near impossible task, as Sweden thrashed Luxembourg 8-0 earlier on October 7, with forward Marcus Berg scoring four goals, to extend their advantage over Dick Advocaat's men on goal difference to 12.

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

France lost N'Golo Kante do an apparent hamstring injury in the 33rd minute, and Hungary almost equalised a few minutes later, only for Hugo Lloris to make a tremendous diving save to deny Georgi Kostadinov.

Les Bleus top Group A with 20 points, one ahead of Sweden who crushed Luxembourg 8-0, and they will qualify directly for next year's World Cup in Russian Federation if they beat Belarus at home in their final game on Tuesday.

David Propper gave the Netherlands a 1-0 lead in the 25the minute, a lead that was tied up early in the second half when Maksin Volodko drove the ball past the Netherlands' goalkeeper.

The opening goal came in the 24th minute when Ryan Babel played a cross to the far post for Arjen Robben, who with one touch centred for Davy Proepper to score.

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The Swiss can qualify on Tuesday with at least a draw in Portugal, who needed Cristiano Ronaldo to come off the bench to rescue a 2-0 victory in Andorra. With one match left to play, Bulgaria finds itself seven points from the second spot in Uefa qualifying group A, which offers a spot in the play-off round. Bulgaria started the second half well, and a mad scramble in the box caused some panic for France.

Greece are in second place, two points clear of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

France's rich array of attacking talent wasted little time in stamping their authority on the game, combining in sublime style to open the scoring inside just three minutes.

Michael Skibbe's side are nearly certain to finish second as they host pointless Gibraltar in their last game on Tuesday, although they could still miss out on the play-offs as the worst second-placed team.

The European champions will now go head-to-head with group leaders Switzerland in a winner-takes-all in Lisbon on Tuesday.

The other early kickoff in that group saw qualifying rookies Gibraltar suffer yet another thrashing, loosing 6-0 at home to Estonia.

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