France on brink of World Cup, Dutch hopes all but over

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But a month later Emil Kostadinov scored a last minute victor at the Parc des Princes to give Bulgaria a 2-1 win and send them, just one point ahead of France, to the World Cup.

But it now faces a near impossible task, as Sweden thrashed Luxembourg 8-0 earlier on October 7, with forward Marcus Berg scoring four goals, to extend their advantage over Dick Advocaat's men on goal difference to 12.

It wasn't all plain sailing for France as the engine was stripped out of their midfield 10 minutes before half-time when Chelsea's N'Golo Kante went off with a hamstring injury, to be replaced by Adrien Rabiot.

The only goal was Bleise Matuidi in the third minute.

But France saw out the three points to maintain their one-point lead over Sweden, and Les Bleus can seal their qualification to Russian Federation by beating Belarus at home on Tuesday.

The result leaves the Dutch on 16 points from nine matches, three behind second-placed Sweden, who they face in Amsterdam tomorrow in the final Grouo A fixture. There's no one player who makes a difference.

Cristiano Ronaldo came off the bench to spare Portugal's blushes in a 2-0 win over lowly Andorra, with AC Milan's Andre Silva netting a late second.

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France top the standings, but still have a long way to go, as the top four teams in the group have a shot at qualification. "When you have good players, it's normal to expect us to make a difference".

The visitors almost scored a second after 15 minutes when Kylian Mbappe demonstrated his breathtaking speed to burst past Nikolay Bodurov, forcing Plamen Iliev into a smart save.

Defender Richard Guzmics pulled a goal back for Hungary in the 59th minute, but Swiss captain Stephan Lichtsteiner knocked in a fifth with seven minutes left ahead of a late consolation from Roland Ugrai.

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.

The hard work was done and all that remained in the second half was to see how many goals Switzerland could pile up.

In Group H, Switzerland and Portugal set up a victor takes all meeting in Lisbon on Tuesday after both emerged victorious from their penultimate matches.

The other early kickoff in that group saw qualifying rookies Gibraltar suffer yet another thrashing, loosing 6-0 at home to Estonia.

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