France, Switzerland, Belgium soar, Ronaldo stars

  • France hit four against Netherlands and move three clear of defeated Sweden
  • Switzerland stay perfect as Ronaldo sets more marks for Portugal
  • Belgium open up six-point Group H lead with their joint-record win
  • How the groups stand: who’s in the hunt to qualify has highlights of every qualifier; Thursday’s games will be available to view from 24:00CET on Friday.

Group A

France 4-0 Netherlands
France opened up a three-point lead at the top of the group thanks to Sweden’s loss and they did it in some style. Antoine Griezmann gave Les Bleus a 14th-minute lead but it was after Kevin Strootman’s dismissal just past the hour that France pulled away. After Arjen Robben had gone close, Thomas Lemar scored on 73 minutes and added another just before new Paris Saint-Germain signing Kylian Mbappé, a substitute, opened his international account.

©AFP/Getty Images

Bulgaria 3-2 Sweden
Ivaylo Chochev scored the winner with 11 minutes left to move Bulgaria above the Netherlands into third place and to within a point of Sweden in second. Sweden, top on goal difference at kick-off, twice equalised in the first half.

Luxembourg 1-0 Belarus
Daniel da Mota scored on the hour to end Luxembourg’s nine-game competitive winless streak and move them to within a point of fifth-placed Belarus, whose mathematical hopes are now over.

Group B

Switzerland 3-0 Andorra
Switzerland remain perfect after their seventh win and have sealed a top-two finish in the group. There was a six-minute interruption in the first half due to heavy rain when it was still 0-0 but Haris Seferovic broke the deadlock before the scheduled interval and added another just past the hour and Stephan Lichtsteiner made it three.

©AFP/Getty Images

Portugal 5-1 Faroe Islands
Portugal are still within three points of Switzerland, who they host on 10 October and further boosted their goal difference advantage thanks to a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick. That took his international tally to 78, leaving him outright second in the all-time European reckoning, and Ronaldo’s 14 in this campaign has equalled the record for any UEFA qualifying group, set by Yugoslavia’s Predrag Mijatović in the 1998 FIFA World Cup campaign.

Hungary 3-1 Latvia
Hungary stay third, if eight points behind Portugal, who they host on Sunday. Tamás Kádár scored his first Hungary goal and Ádám Szalai added a second on 26 minutes. Gints Freimanis pulled one back before half-time but matters were settled by Balázs Dzsudzsák’s deflected free-kick.

Group H

©Getty Images

Belgium 9-0 Gibraltar
Belgium equalled their record margin of victory on a night when they moved six points clear of Greece. Thomas Meunier and Romelu Lukaku both scored hat-tricks. Belgium will qualify if they beat Greece on Sunday.

Greece 0-0 Estonia
Greece lost ground on Sunday’s visitors after being restricted to relatively few chances by Estonia. The only consolation for Greece was that they remain second thanks to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s defeat, and have a two-point cushion.

Cyprus 3-2 Bosnia and Herzegovina
Cyprus trailed 2-0 at the break but fought back to move to within a point of their third-placed visitors. Toni Šunjić and Edin Višća seemed to have left Bosnia and Herzegovina heading for victory but Dimitris Christofi and Vincent Laban both scored in a three-minute period midway through the second half and Pieros Sotiriou won it with 14 to go.

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