Matuidi keeps French World Cup destiny in own hands

France have little room for error

Bulgaria vs France UEFA World Cup Qualifiers – Watch Live Online, TV Schedule October 7, 2017

France remained top of European qualifying Group A and inched closer to punching a ticket for the 2018 World Cup after Blaise Matuidi's early goal saw off Bulgaria 1-0 on Saturday.

There is also history between the two nations, as the last time France did not qualify for the World Cup was in 1994 after a late defeat to Bulgaria in qualifying.

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

Kante will miss tomorrow's match, Deschamps said.

The pressure was on after Sweden had earlier swept past Luxembourg 8-0 to boost their hopes of making it to Russian Federation, which in turn all but eliminated Holland, who later won 3-1 in Belarus.

Trailing the Scandinavians by three points, only a massive victory over Sweden in Amsterdam next week will save the three-time World Cup runners-up.

Clearly content to settle for a 1-0 win, France offered nothing in the way of attacking intent in the second half. Ukraine revived its World Cup hopes and set up a pivotal tie with Croatia in the Group I when it defied rain-soaked conditions to win 2-0 away to bottom side Kosovo the same day.

Greece now lead Bosnia by two points and face minnows Gibraltar on Tuesday, but even if they finish second they could still face the possibility of missing out on the playoffs. Presumably wanting to rest their talisman, coach Fernando Santos started with Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench. It's true that it was a fight, and we need to do better.

Kylian Mbappé (France forward): "We can't hide from the fact that it wasn't a great match, but we had to go there and get the result, which we did".

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. Switzerland is now cruising and further cemented their dominance in the group by thrashing Hungary 5-2.

Belgium are already secured of automatic qualification from Group H, having won seven of their eight matches.

Thomas Meunier had put Belgium in front after just four minutes, but goals from Haris Medunjanin on the half-hour and Edin Visca after 39 minutes put the hosts ahead going into the break.

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