Belgium reach World Cup while Luxembourg claim stunning draw with France

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.

Belgium's Romelu Lukaku practices during a training session, one day ahead of their World Cup Group H qualifying soccer match

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.

Belgium knew victory would guarantee their place at the finals in Russia but they were made to work hard by Greece, with Zeca immediately responding to Vertonghen's fine long-range strike which had been preceded by 70 minutes of stalemate.

Lukaku's deft glancing header means Belgium cannot be caught in Group H, where they sit eight points clear at the top, but the race for second and a play-off spot remains wide open.

Bosnia-Herzegovina are the current incumbents after they jumped a point ahead of Greece with a 4-0 win in Gibraltar, Edin Dzeko scoring twice, while Cyprus' 1-0 defeat to Estonia means they are now four points adrift.

Portugal ensured they cannot finish lower than second in Group B after they ground out a 1-0 win over 10-man Hungary.

Former Watford forward Tamas Priskin was sent off after half an hour for an elbow on Pepe but it was only Andre Silva's header from Cristiano Ronaldo's cross that sealed all three points.

Switzerland's comfortable 3-0 win in Latvia means they stay three points clear at the top but automatic progress is not beyond Portugal, who host Switzerland in their final fixture. The other game in the group saw the Faroe Islands beat Andorra 1-0.

Group I leaders Croatia were not given an easy ride at home to bottom side Kosovo in a match played to its conclusion having been abandoned on Saturday.

Croatia sneaked a 1-0 win thanks to defender Domagoj Vida's goal 16 minutes from time and now sit two points clear of Ukraine at the top of the standings.


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