Belgium seal WC place, France held by Luxembourg

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 05 Sep 2017 08:56:48


 

PARIS,

ROMELU Lukaku’s goal allowed Belgium to become the first European nation to clinch qualification for the 2018 World Cup on Sunday as much-fancied France were held to an embarrassing goalless draw by Luxembourg.
Manchester United striker Lukaku headed in a Thomas Meunier cross in the 74th minute in Piraeus for the decisive goal in a 2-1 Belgium win that guaranteed them top spot in European qualifying Group H.


With just two matches remaining, Belgium enjoy an unassailable eight-point lead over second-placed Bosnia and Herzegovina, for whom Edin Dzeko netted twice in a 4-0 win over Gibraltar.
Belgium join Brazil, Iran, Japan, Mexico and hosts Russia in guaranteeing a place at next year’s finals.


In the battle for second place and a spot in November’s two-legged play-offs, Bosnia are now a point ahead of Greece and four clear of Cyprus, beaten 1-0 in Estonia.
Three days after a 4-0 destruction of the Netherlands in which they showcased their frightening array of attacking talent, France proved themselves unable to break down minnows Luxembourg, the nation lying 136th in the world rankings. Didier Deschamps’ side, with Kylian Mbappe starting after coming off the bench to score against the Dutch, had more than 70 percent possession and over 30 attempts on goal in Toulouse but failed to find a way through and the final whistle was greeted with a chorus of boos from home fans.


It is the first time France have failed to win against Luxembourg since 1914 and the only consolation for the French is that they remain a point clear of Sweden at the top of Group A with two games remaining. Sweden, who beat France 2-1 in June, are second after a resounding 4-0 win in Belarus.