World Cup Qualifiers | Switzerland, France move closer to qualification; Netherlands in danger despite win

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World Cup Qualifiers | Switzerland, France move closer to qualification; Netherlands in danger despite win

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SportsCafe Desk


Switzerland won 5-2 against Hungary while France overcame Bulgaria 1-0, as they moved closer to qualification sitting atop their respective tables with one game to go. Netherlands, however, might miss out on the World Cup despite a 3-1 win over Belarus as they sit behind Sweden on goal difference.

Switzerland 5-2 Hungary

Switzerland stretched their winning streak to nine games in qualifiers as they outclassed Hungary 5-2 on Saturday. The win takes them to the top of the table in Group B as they lead Portugal by a point now.  

Granit Xhaka opened the scoring with just 18 minutes gone for the Swiss before Fabian Frei added a second two minutes later. Swiss were in total control from the beginning and Steven Zuber made it 3-0 just before the half-time from an assist by Xherdan Shaqiri. Zuber added his second four minutes into the second half taking the game beyond Hungary’s reach.

The visitors pulled one back in the 59 minute through defender Richard Guzmics before Swiss captain Stephan Lichtsteiner knocked in a fifth with seven minutes left. Hungary added a second goal as late as in the 88 minute from Roland Ugrai.

France 1-0 Bulgaria

France regained their top spot in the Group A table with a lack lustrous 1-0 win over Bulgaria as they move within one win to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. However, the win on Saturday came at the cost of N’Golo Kante, who suffered a hamstring injury giving a massive blow to his club and country.

Les Bleus were already leading 1-0 through a Blaise Matuidi goal when Kante limped off in the 34 minutes. This marks Didier Deschamps's 42nd victory since he took charge of the national team from Laurent Blanc, back in 2012 which is the most wins by any France coach. They lead Sweden by one point in the table.

Belarus 1-3 Netherlands

Late goals by Arjen Robben and Memphis Depay kept Netherlands’ faint hopes of a World Cup play-off spot alive as they beat Belarus 3-1. Davy Propper gave Holland the lead in the 24 minute from an Arjen Robben layoff, but it was cancelled by Belarus’ Maksim Volodko in the second half.

Netherlands were already lagging behind Sweden through goal difference after the latter’s surprising 8-0 win over Luxembourg and a draw would have completely ousted them from the group stages. However, thanks to Robben and Depay, Netherlands added two very late goals that earned them a timely win.

The Netherlands sit third in the group with an inferior goal difference and are almost certain to miss out unless they record a heavy win on Tuesday when they face Sweden.

Andorra 0-2 Portugal

Belarus 1-3 Netherlands

Bulgaria 0-1 France

Cyprus 1-2 Greece

Switzerland 5-2 Hungary

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