UEFA World Cup qualifying: France, Portugal clinch

AP Photo/Christophe Ena
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France and Portugal claimed the final two automatic berths in the 2018 World Cup on Tuesday, while three teams know they’ll need a playoff to go to Russia.

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Netherlands 2-0 Sweden

The Dutch needed to win and erase a big goal difference on Sweden, and only managed the latter through a pair of Arjen Robben goals. The first was a chipped penalty that nearly failed to find the net.

France 2-1 Belarus

Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud helped Les Bleus build a 2-0 lead, and the French held on for a spot in Russia against visiting Belarus.

Portugal 2-0 Switzerland

It took an own goal to break this one open, as Johan Djourou of Antalyaspor had the ill fortune of putting the Swiss behind the 8-ball before Andre Silva scored a second despite a mistouch at the back post.

The loss was the only one of Switzerland’s qualifying campaign, as Portugal advanced on superior goal differential. The Swiss beat Portugal 2-0 in Sweden.

Greece 4-0 Gibraltar

This was supposed to be much easier for Greece, which needed a win to earn a playoff spot and was expected to dominate the minnows. Bologna’s Vasilis Torosidis scored the lone goal of the first half, and it took until after the hour mark for Kostas Mitroglou to salt away the result with 61st and 63rd minute goals.

Estonia 1-2 Bosnia and Herzegovina

Werder Bremen’s Izet Hajrovic scored twice for the visitors, whose form dipped precipitously over the final five matches to miss the World Cup.

Elsewhere

Luxembourg 1-1 Bulgaria
Hungary 1-0 Faroe Islands
Latvia 4-0 Andorra
Belgium 3-0 Cyprus