Portugal, France Beat Opponents To Qualify For 2018 World Cup
European champions, Portugal, qualified for next year’s World Cup with a convincing 2-0 win over Switzerland on Tuesday after an own goal by Johan Djourou set them on their way.
The Swiss defender put the ball into his own net four minutes before half-time and André Silva sealed the victory in the 57th minute as Portugal pulled level on 27 points with Switzerland and won Group B on goal difference.
The Swiss had led the group since beating Portugal 2-0 in Basel in their opening match in September last year and went on to win all nine matches before Tuesday’s encounter in Lisbon, while Portugal had won their subsequent eight. Switzerland will now enter Tuesday’s draw for the play-offs.
Portugal might have won more emphatically. Cristiano Ronaldo should have scored his 16th goal of the qualifying campaign when he was sent clear in the 78th minute but he over-elaborated as he tried to get around Yann Sommer and allowed the goalkeeper to claim the ball.
Antoine Griezmann scored one and set up another as France booked their place at next year’s World Cup finals by beating Belarus 2-1 at the Stade de France in their final Group A qualifying game on Tuesday.
In another game, Griezmann opened the scoring and then set up Olivier Giroud before the break while Belarus reduced the deficit on the stroke of half-time through Anton Saroka. The result put France, who will take part in their sixth consecutive World Cup finals, on 23 points after 10 games, four ahead of second-placed Sweden.
Didier Deschamps’s team were never really under pressure, the manager having switched from a 4-3-3 to a 4-4-2 formation with Giroud and Griezmann up front, pushing Kylian Mbappé and Alexandre Lacazette on to the bench. France began positively but Belarus had the first clear chance when Yuri Kovalev’s low angled shot whizzed just past Hugo Lloris’s right-hand post in the 12th minute. Kingsley Coman was a constant menace on the right flank and his fine cross in the 21st minute was met by Giroud, whose header crashed on to the bar.
The hosts were rewarded for their efforts six minutes later when Griezmann beat Syarhey Chernik from close range after a Blaise Matuidi through ball tore the Belarus defence wide open. They doubled their tally six minutes later as another through ball, this time from Griezmann, was collected by Giroud in the area and the Arsenal forward clinically slid it past Chernik. It was Giroud’s 28th goal for France.