France on brink of World Cup, Dutch hopes all but over

Paris Saint Germain star Kylian Mbappe was among the France players enjoying themselves

Paris Saint Germain star Kylian Mbappe was among the France players enjoying themselves

Yet, both sides have much to improve on after stuttering campaigns almost derailed their hopes for automatic qualification as respective group winners.

France would have hoped to secure their place at Russian Federation 2018 already, but they face a straightforward task when they welcome a poor Belarus side to the Stade de France.

France's midfielder Blaise Matuidi (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring his team's first goal during the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifying football match between Bulgaria and France at The Vasil Levski Stadium in Sofia on October 7, 2017.

The fifth-placed team have won only one game in qualification, and the depth of their squad will not worry France coach Didier Deschamps. We have youngsters who have a huge amount of talent and the older players are still on it. The White Wings are not a very potent team in this UEFA region but have managed to pull off some surprising results like a 0-0 draw against France and a 2-1 win against Bulgaria.

"We didn't control the matches", he admitted.

Uefa Nations League: England in top tier but Wales miss out
Division A: Germany, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, England , France, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, Iceland, Croatia and the Netherlands. Organisers will use the UEFA ranking system to determine the make-up of four leagues (A , B, C and D) from the 55 teams involved.

In Lisbon, Portugal defeated Switzerland 2-0 to book their place at next year's World Cup and consigned their opponents to next month's play-offs.

Cristiano Ronaldo's side had lost their qualifying campaign opener 2-0 to the Swiss, and had to win all nine remaining games to pip their rivals to top spot in the table.

"We know we can do better and it's encouraging to want to do better".

"For quite some time we have had an atmosphere that we have not always had, people come and are deep behind this team", he added.

FC Copenhagen striker Pieros Sotiriou put Cyprus ahead early on as they looked for a win to maintain hopes of a play-off place, but two goals in three first-half minutes from Kostas Mitroglou and Alexandros Tziolis sent Greece two points clear of Bosnia.

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