Saturday, 21 October, 2017

France on brink of 2018 World Cup

Bulgaria France graphic France have little room for error
Erik Tate | 10 October, 2017, 00:31

FRANCE is one win away from reaching the World Cup finals in Russian Federation next year after a 1-0 win in Bulgaria.

Laurent Blanc has challenged the France squad to aim for a place in the Russia World Cup and go ahead to win it.

"We're still first - that's important - we've got one match left and (qualification) remains in our hands, so we have to win on Tuesday".

"It was a hard match with lots of mistakes, commitment", said coach Deschamps.

Les Bleus took an early lead through Blaise Matuidi and controlled the pace the rest of the way, as the match turned into a drab affair.

The Netherlands is looking to avoid failing to qualify for successive major tournaments for the first time since 1986, having also missed out on Euro 2016.

Sweden have a vastly superior goal difference, and the Netherlands' - runners-up three times -participation in Russian Federation looks highly unlikely.

The 1998 world champions lead Sweden by one point in Group A with two matches to play, but France need little reminding of the pain inflicted upon them by the Bulgarians in one of the national team's darkest hours.

Preschoolers die after being set alight in Brazil
Mr Temer said that, as the father of a school-age child, he understood this must be an extremely painful loss for the parents. President Michael Temer tweeted: "I'm very sorry about this tragedy involving children in Janauba".

Earlier, Sweden had kept up the pressure on France with an 8-0 win over Luxembourg. Portugal needed Cristiano Ronaldo special strike to break the shackles after 63rd minute.

Ahead of the clash with Bulgaria, the 1998 World Cup victor told the French media: 'Since the start, we know that this is a very important match for us.

That result meant that France went into their match with Bulgaria two points behind the Swedes at the top of the Group.

"Thank God that he scored", said Portugal coach Fernando Santos. "When you have good players, it's normal to expect us to make the difference".

Zuber came on in the second half with his second goal to make it 4-0 at the 49th minute, Guzmics put Hungary on the scoreboard at the 59th minute, the Netherlands' Lichtsteiner came back for the Dutch at the 83rd minute, and Ugrai made it 5-2 for the final score of Switzerland's win.

Dario Dumic's header eight minutes from time looked to have given Bosnia a precious point, but minutes later Yannick Ferreira Carrasco netted from a tight angle to secure the win for Belgium.

Edin Visca then completed the comeback for Bosnia before half-time after an error from Jan Vertonghen, but Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi hit back to equalise in the second half and Vertonghen put Belgium ahead again.

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