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World Cup Round-Up: France See Off Netherlands, Belgium And Portugal Run Riot

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - OCTOBER 10: Paul Pogba of Francecelebrates scoring his teams first goal of the game with team mates during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier between Netherlands and France held at Amsterdam Arena on October 10, 2016 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

The penultimate night of European World Cup qualifiers for this week saw nine more teams looking to stay on the road to Russia 2018.

To Group A first where 1998 winners France took on three-time finalists Netherlands at the Amsterdam ArenA. A single goal from Paul Pogba on the half-hour mark proved to be decisive in a 1-0 away win, and it was a goal fit to win any match (though Maarten Stekelenburg will still feel he could have done better).

At the Friends Arena, Sweden took care of Bulgaria with relative ease in a 3-0 win. Ola Toivonen, Oscar Hiljemark and Victor Lindelof were the goalscorers as Sweden stayed level on points and firmly in contention for at least a playoff place.

SOLNA, SWEDEN - OCTOBER 10: Victor Nilsson Lindelof of Sweden celebrates scoring the 3-0 goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between Sweden and Bulgaria at Friends Arena on October 10, 2016 in Solna, Sweden. (Photo by Michael Campanella/Getty Images)

The final game of the group saw Belarus struggle to a 1-1 draw at home to LuxembourgPavel Savitskiy put the home side in front in the 80th minute, only for Aurelien Joachim to level it up five minutes later.

In Group B, Portugal recorded their second 6-0 of the weekend, the Faroe Islands the unfortunate recipients this time around. André Silva scored a first half hat-trick to end the tie as a contest, before further goals from Cristiano Ronaldo, Joao Moutinho and Joao Cancelo added an extra layer of gloss to the scoreline.

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo (R) celebrates after scoring a goal during the WC 2018 football qualification match between Faroe Islands and Portugal in Torshavn on October 10, 2016. / AFP / FRANCISCO LEONG (Photo credit should read FRANCISCO LEONG/AFP/Getty Images)

Switzerland, meanwhile, didn’t have it all their own way in Andorra in a 2-1 win. Goals from Fabian Schar and Ahmed Mehmedi looked like being the perfect reward for the away side’s dominance, but a late consolation from Alexandre Martinez gave Switzerland a late scare.

In the group’s other game, Hungary dispatched Latvia with relative ease, winning 2-0 courtesy of goals from Adam Gyurcso and Adam Szalai either side of half time.

Finally to Group H where it was Belgium’s turn with whipping boys Gibraltar. Christian Benteke scored the fastest ever goal in World Cup qualification history after just seven seconds, before going on to net a hat-trick. Axel Witsel, Dries Mertens and Eden Hazard also scored as Roberto Martínez’s side made it three wins from three.

FARO, PORTUGAL - OCTOBER 10 : Christian Benteke forward of Belgium scores and celebrates during the international qualifying group H match for the FIFA World Cup 2018 Russia between Gibraltar and Belgium on October 10, 2016 in Faro, Portugal , 10/10/2016

Greece also kept up their 100% record with a 2-0 win away at EstoniaVasilis Torosidis and Kostas Stafylidis with the goals as Michael Skibbe’s side kept up the pace with the group leaders.

In the group’s other game, Bosnia and Herzegovina saw off the threat of Cyprus with a 2-0 win. Two goals from Roma striker Edin Dzeko in the second half secured the victory.

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.