Published: Fri, October 13, 2017
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

France & Portugal Secure Qualification as the Netherlands Crash Out

France & Portugal Secure Qualification as the Netherlands Crash Out

Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud did the damage for France against Belarus on Tuesday, each netting in a 2-1 win to claim the top spot in Group A. Back-to-back wins against Bulgaria and then Belarus ensured France would not have to endure a nail-biting playoff, as in 2010 and 2014.

France plays his place for the world Cup 2018 in the face of Belarus, on 10 October 2017.

However, Anton Saroka's excellent finish just before half-time gave the visitors hope.

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However, the Netherlands had gone into the fixture needing a miraculous 7-0 win to survive.

But Netherlands, also in Group A, must beat Sweden with a huge goal difference swing to steal second place and a play-off spot.

As long as France win, they advance to the World Cup no matter what else happens in the group.

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Elsewhere, Greece took their place in the play-offs with a convincing 4-0 win over minnows Gibraltar in Group H, and left Slovakia - who had finished runners-up to England in Group F - as the unfortunate second-placed nation with the fewest points.

Arjen Robben scored both goals - in the 16th minute from the penalty spot and on 40 minutes - before he announced his global retirement post match. Instead, they slumped to third in Group A behind France and Sweden. An own goal from Johan Djourou set Portugal on the right track before Andre Silva put the hosts two up before the hour mark.

Eden Hazard opened the scoring in the 12th minute with what was the only goal of the first half.

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Eden Hazard all but sealed the game with a 63rd minute penalty before a Romelu Lukaku strike put the cherry on top 15 minutes later.

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