- Belgium beat Greece to qualify for World Cup finals
- France held by Luxembourg as Sweden close in
- Switzerland maintain perfect record from eight qualifiers
- How the groups stand: who’s on course to qualify?
Davy Pröpper scored twice as the Netherlands leapfrogged Bulgaria into third place in the section. Daley Blind set up the first two goals, Pröpper and Arjen Robben tapping in to put the Oranje in control, but Georgi Kostadinov’s header gave the visitors hope. Pröpper’s late header ensured the Dutch stayed within three points of Sweden, with Bulgaria now a point behind them.
France’s fearsome attacking talents endured a frustrating night as goalkeeper Jonathan Joubert and his defenders held on for an impressive goalless draw in Toulouse. The Luxembourg No1 denied the likes of Kylian Mbappé, Paul Pogba and Djibril Sidibé, and also tipped an Antoine Griezmann free-kick onto the crossbar, before Gerson Rodrigues almost snatched a shock victory for the visitors when he hit the post. Despite the result, France returned to the top of Group A, a point ahead of Sweden.
Second-placed Sweden opened up a three-point buffer on their pursuers with a clinical display in Borisov. Three first-half goals effectively settled the contest, with Emil Forsberg calmly opening the scoring and teeing up Marcus Berg for the third. Christoffer Nyman scored his first international goal in between, with Andreas Granqvist adding a late penalty as Sweden cut the gap to leaders France to one point.
Haris Seferović’s slick early goal set Switzerland on course for an eighth win from eight (only Germany can match their 100% record). Blerim Džemaili blazed a penalty high over the bar as the visitors sought to press home their advantage in Riga, but the midfielder made amends soon after half-time when he rounded the keeper and slotted in. Ricardo Rodríguez, assuming spot-kick taking responsibilities from Džemaili, settled the contest three minutes later.
Portugal remain just three points adrift of the Swiss after they laboured to victory against a Hungary side reduced to ten men for an hour following Tamás Priskin’s red card for a stray elbow. André Silva’s goal three minutes after the restart ultimately separated the sides, the AC Milan new boy heading in Cristiano Ronaldo’s cross from point-blank range. The defeat means Hungary are eliminated.
The Faroese may be out of the running for a top-two spot in Group B, but there was cause for celebration after Gilli Sørensen’s well-taken first-half strike earned victory in Torshavn. It moved Lars Olsen’s side onto eight points, their best ever haul in a World Cup/EURO qualifying campaign with two games still to play.
Belgium became the first European nation to qualify for the World Cup finals as they wrapped up first place in Group H with two games to spare. All the goals came in a frantic five-minute spell, with Jan Vertonghen’s 70th-minute drive quickly cancelled out by Zeca’s controlled volley. However, Romelu Lukaku’s tenth goal in seven European Qualifiers, a beautifully guided header from Thomas Meunier’s cross, proved decisive. Greece slip to third in the group.
Bosnia and Herzegovina moved up to second, a point ahead of Greece, with a controlled dismantling of point-less Gibraltar. Edin Džeko claimed the first and last efforts while Kenan Kodro struck his first international goal as the visitors pulled away after the interval. Senad Lulić also found the net, his first competitive international goal for almost two years.
Cyprus’s bid for a top-two spot took a hit as Ran Ben Simon’s side suffered a damaging defeat in Tallinn. Needing a win to keep their own hopes alive, the hosts enjoyed the better of the chances and finally struck their first goal in four qualifiers when Mattias Käit volleyed in from outside the area in added time. The teenager’s well-taken effort moved Estonia onto eight points, two behind fourth-placed Cyprus.
Heavy rain caused Croatia’s home meeting with Kosovo to be abandoned in the 22nd minute on Saturday, but the two teams resumed their encounter on Sunday afternoon – with Domagoj Vida eventually scoring the only goal on 74 minutes. The Dynamo Kyiv defender headed in from a Luka Modrić free-kick for his first international strike in four years, taking the hosts two points clear of Ukraine at the summit.