Millennium Post

Portugal and France clinch World Cup spots

Paris: Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal and Antoine Griezmann's France booked spots at the 2018 World Cup finals on Tuesday while the Netherlands crashed out.
Portugal beat Switzerland 2-0 in Lisbon thanks to a Johan Djourou own goal and an Andre Silva strike.
France needed goals from Griezmann and Olivier Giroud in a hard-fought 2-1 win over Belarus at the Stade de France.
After a stuttering campaign, France's achievement in beating Bulgaria and Belarus in their final two qualifiers means they avoid the playoffs having had to go through that route for the last two finals.
"We have had a difficult route and tonight wasn't easy either but we've achieved our aim," coach Didier Deschamps said.
"We are happy, even if qualifying is logical given the quality of the players I have."
Giroud said he was delighted to have avoided the tension of the playoffs.
"We're all relieved tonight to have ended the campaign with automatic qualification," the Arsenal forward said.
"We chased this game and it wasn't easy because they were strong and efficient in attack until the final whistle and we had to roll up our sleeves."
In Lisbon, Portugal navigated a potentially fraught final fixture with Switzerland, who become one of the eight European nations who must fight through the playoffs for a spot in Russia. The others are Italy, Denmark, Croatia, Sweden, Northern Ireland, Greece and the Republic of Ireland.
The Swiss can consider themselves unlucky after winning all nine previous qualifiers but must now overcome a two- legged play-off in November to earn a fourth straight World Cup appearance.
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