Sunday 24 September 2017

World Cup round-up: France held to goalless draw at home to Luxembourg while Belgium secure qualification

Belgium players celebrate after qualifying for the 2018 World Cup REUTERS/Costas Baltas
Belgium players celebrate after qualifying for the 2018 World Cup REUTERS/Costas Baltas

Belgium qualified for next year's World Cup by beating Greece but France were pegged back by a humiliating goalless draw at home to Luxembourg.

Romelu Lukaku scored the winner as Belgium sealed a 2-1 victory in Piraeus to become the first European qualifiers aside from host nation Russia. All the goals came in four second-half minutes, with Jan Vertonghen's opener cancelled out by Jose Carlos Zeca before Lukaku had the final say.

There were no such celebrations in Paris, where France failed to break down their 136th-ranked opponents.

Despite lining up with some of the world's most feared forwards in Kylian Mbappe, Thomas Lemar and Antoine Griezmann, France were held at bay by goalkeeper Jonathan Joubert and it was Luxembourg who almost snatched all three points late on when Gerson Rodrigues was denied by the post.

Griezmann and Paul Pogba had earlier each hit the crossbar as France's lead at the top of Group A was cut to a single point.

Breathing down their necks now are Sweden, who had earlier thrashed Belarus 4-0, while Holland kept their hopes of automatic qualification alive with a 3-1 win over Bulgaria.

Dick Advocaat's men are three points back on Sweden and four behind leaders France.

More to follow...

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