Matuidi puts France in control of their World Cup destiny

France striker Kylian Mbappe            
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France striker Kylian Mbappe Show Grid

Chelsea were left sweating on Saturday night after midfielder N'Golo Kante tweaked a hamstring playing for France against Bulgaria.

Les Bleus top Group A with 20 points, one ahead of Sweden who crushed Luxembourg 8-0, and they will qualify directly for next year's World Cup in Russian Federation if they beat Belarus at home in their final game on Tuesday. The lead was doubled in the 86th minute by Andre Silva. On 17 minutes, Marcus Berg cut inside and hammered home for the second before breaking through and grabbing his second after a rebound off the goalkeeper before half-time.

Meanwhile, in the same group Arjen Robben scored one goal and set up another as the Netherlands kept alive their slender hopes of reaching the finals with a 3-1 victory over Belarus. Those results mean the likes of Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland (the latter two face off in a victor takes all meeting on Monday) will be guaranteed a playoff place if they win their final games. There's no one player who makes a difference.

Belarus equalised through Maksim Volodjko. "We did not always play well but we were solid", added France captain Lloris.

The game's only goal came in just the third minute as Blaise Matuidi thumped in from close range, with Antoine Griezmann and Corentin Tolisso missing chances to extend the lead. Coach Didier Deschamps's men held their nerves and secured the crucial three points.

France's rich array of attacking talent wasted little time in stamping their authority on the game, combining in sublime style to open the scoring inside just three minutes.

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Men's National Team in its pursuit of the country's eighth straight World Cup appearance. A resounding 4-0 win over Panama on Friday did wonders for the U.S.

"Cristiano Ronaldo was decisive for us in this match, but that's why he's the best player in the world".

Greece are in second place, two points clear of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

But Greece quickly responded as Petros Mantalos intercepted a poor pass and fed Kostas Mitroglou, who spun around a defender before equalising, and two minutes later the visitors led through Alexandros Tziolis' header following a corner. On Saturday they travel to Bosnia-Herzegovina, who are second in the group and looking to improve their chances of qualifying for the play-offs as one of the best eight teams. Cyprus' last hopes ended with the defeat.

Portugal go into that game with Switzerland three points behind their rivals but with a much better goal difference meaning the victor will be guaranteed a place in Russian Federation nest summer.

The other early kickoff in that group saw qualifying rookies Gibraltar suffer yet another thrashing, loosing 6-0 at home to Estonia.

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