Matuidi puts France in control of their World Cup destiny

Matuidi puts France in control of their World Cup destiny

The team now looks to seal the deal at home when they play Belarus on Tuesday at the Stade de France in Paris.

The pressure was on after Sweden had earlier swept past Luxembourg 8-0 to boost their hopes of making it to Russian Federation, which in turn all but eliminated Holland, who later won 3-1 in Belarus.

France lost N'Golo Kante do an apparent hamstring injury in the 33rd minute, and Hungary almost equalised a few minutes later, only for Hugo Lloris to make a tremendous diving save to deny Georgi Kostadinov.

France had been cruising at the top of their World Cup qualifying group but conceded two goals in the final seven minutes to lose 3-2 at home to Israel, meaning they had to avoid defeat in the final game, at home to Bulgaria.

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Netherlands needed a late penalty to escape Belarus with a 3-1 win, though their hopes of reaching a playoff spot are practically nil after Sweden's big win.

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 the difference.

But Hungary equalised 10 minutes after half-time as Sergey Balanovich led a counter-attack and found Maksim Volodko to slot his low shot out of the reach of Jasper Cillessen.

At minute 3, Juventus star Matuidi took a pass from Griezmann and booted the ball past Iliev into the net to give France a 1-0 lead. But we played like men.

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Meanwhile, Portugal struggled against Andorra at the Estadio Nacional in Andorra La Vella. The second half was harder.

"The essential thing (winning) is there, that's what matters, but we should be able to do better". Both teams are still looking for a first and second place-finish out of Group A of the competition and should provide an entertaining match. In the previous head to head record between these two teams, France won the game.

Greece could also finish second in the group as they trail Bosnia-Herzegovina by a point ahead of their trip to Cyprus.

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.

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In the other Group H afternoon kick-off, defender Joonas Tamm bagged a second-half hat-trick as Estonia trashed Gibraltar 6-0 at Estadio Algarve.

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