Portugal, France book World Cup tickets, Netherlands eliminated

The Vasil Levski Stadium in Sofia will be a hostile ground come kick-off on Saturday night

Portugal and France booked their spots in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, while the Netherlands crashed out of contention on a dramatic night, which also saw wins for Belgium and Greece.

As a result, the European champions leapfrogged Switzerland and went top of Group B. Their opponents tonight will now have to qualify via the playoffs.

The draw for Europe's qualifying playoffs will be held next Tuesday.

Because of the Swedes' excellent goal difference, Holland must win 7-0 to progress to the play-off round.

1998 World Cup winners France sealed their place in Russian Federation next year with a 2-1 home victory over Belarus. Robben's first was perhaps the worst chipped "Panenka" penalty you're ever likely to see, but his sorry scuffed strike still found its way into the net.

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It is a continued fall from grace for the Dutch - who fell well short of the seven goals they needed in Amsterdam to usurp their opponents.

Missing out on the World Cup caps a remarkable demise for the Netherlands, who were runners-up at the 2010 tournament in South Africa and third in Brazil in 2014.

Belgium rounded off their qualification campaign in style with a 4-0 win over Cyprus. In the seventh minute after the break, they scored their second through Thorgan Hazard. His second, meanwhile, was far crisper; a first-time shot from the edge of the box into the top corner.

The older Eden then slotted in from the penalty spot after a handball from defender Giorgos Merkis.

Elsewhere, Luxembourg and Bulgaria drew 1-1 in Group A, Hungary edged past the Faroe Islands 1-0 and Latvia trounced the Faroe Islands 4-0 in Group B while Bosnia and Herzegovina accounted for Estonia 2-1 in Group H.

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