France finish winless run and Scotland revive World Cup hopes

PARIS – Reigning champions France beat Finland 2-0 in a World Cup qualifier, because of Antoine Griezmann’s double strike to snap a five-game winless streak whereas Scotland saved their hopes alive with a 1-0 win in Austria.

In different motion, Portugal and the Netherlands stayed on observe to achieve the finals in Qatar subsequent yr, with Memphis Depay grabbing a hat-trick for the Dutch in a 6-1 demolition of Turkey. France have been roared on by 57,000 passionate spectators in Lyon the place Griezmann — who ended an sad spell at Barcelona with a mortgage transfer again to Atletico Madrid within the switch window — mixed effectively with Karim Benzema as their facet overcame a disjointed begin.

Benzema’s pleasant backheel launched Griezmann contained in the field and he equipped a easy end after 25 minutes. Griezmann made it 41 objectives for his nation when he beat Finnish ‘keeper Lukas Hradecky on the close to publish to make it 2-0 within the 54th minute. 

After a irritating 1-1 draw with Ukraine of their final recreation, the victory was a fine addition for the French who’re nonetheless smarting after crashing out of Euro 2020 on the final 16 stage this summer time. “We didn’t do all the things effectively however we’ve rediscovered our confidence,” stated France coach Didier Deschamps. “This places our destiny in our palms and we should end the job in November.” 

Scotland grabbed a useful three factors of their bid to qualify for Qatar with a 1-0 win towards the Austrians in Vienna as Australian-born Lyndon Dykes’ VAR-awarded penalty proved the distinction. The victory moved the Scots as much as second in Group F, seven factors behind Euro 2020 semi-finalists Denmark who’re cruising with a one hundred pc report after thrashing Israel 5-0. “Some folks in (Scotland) don’t imagine on this group of gamers, however I do,” Scotland supervisor Steve Clarke instructed Sky Sports activities. “I like my gamers. We’re workforce.”

The Netherlands have been ruthless towards Turkey as Depay’s hat-trick took the Barcelona ahead’s worldwide objective tally to 33 objectives. The Dutch led 3-0 by half-time and any remaining probability for the Turks vanished when Leicester defender Caglar Soyuncu was despatched off for a second bookable offence shortly earlier than the break. 

Louis van Gaal’s facet moved into high spot in Group G by advantage of objective distinction above Norway who outclassed minnows Gibraltar 5-1, with Erling Braut Haaland notching a hat-trick. 

Serbia’s bid to qualify for a second successive World Cup finals suffered a setback as Nikola Milenkovic’s late personal objective and an outstanding show from teenage goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu gave the Republic of Eire a battling 1-1 attract Dublin. Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic had put Serbia forward within the first half.

The Portuguese didn’t miss the suspended Cristiano Ronaldo as Bernardo Silva scored a glowing opener on 26 minutes earlier than Andre Silva added a second 5 minutes later in Baku. Liverpool ahead Diogo Jota accomplished the job with a second-half header to proceed his shiny early season kind.

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