By Izuchukwu Okosi:
Belgium on Sunday night became the first European country to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia after their 2-1 away win against Greece at the Stadio Georgia Karaiskaki, reports Completesportsnigeria.com.
Two second half goals from Jan Vertonghen and Romelu Lukaku were enough to help Belgium confirm a place a next year’s World Cup from Group H while Greece’s goal came from Jose Carlos Zeca.
France were held scoreless by a resilient Luxembourg side at the Stade Municipal in Tolouse in a Group A game.
Andres Silva was the scorer of Portugal’s goal in their slim 1-0 win against Hungary in a Group B match at Groupama Arena in Budapest.
Switzerland mauled Latvia 3-0 in a Group B game at the Stadion Skonto. An own goal by Andrinis Vanins were followed by goals from Blerim Dzemaili and Ricardo Rodriguez.
Bosnia and Herzegovina handed a 4-0 defeat to hapless Gibraltar away at the Estadio Do Algarve in their Group H clash. Eden Dzeko grabbed a brace while the duo of Kenan Kodro and Senad Lucic also got on the score sheet.
Earlier in the day, Croatia defeated Kosovo 1-0, Sweden traveled to Belarus and returned with a 4-0 victory.
Holland who suffered an embarrassing 4-0 defeat to France on Thursday picked up all three points in their 3-1 home win versus Bulgaria. Faroe Islands pipped Andorra 1-0 same result between hosts Estonia and Cyprus with the former coming out as winners.
On Saturday Spain took a step closer to qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia with an impressive 3-0 win over Group G rivals Italy at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
The two sides were the only unbeaten in the group, both settling the first leg of the tie on a 1-1 draw in Turin.
Real Madrid midfielder Isco scored a brace for the Spaniards while Alvaro Morata added the third. Isco’s 13th minute freekick dipped over the Italian wall and sailed into the left of the goal with Gianluigi Buffon standing no chance of stopping the ball.
Spain’s dominance continued and Isco doubled the lead in the 40th minute when he curled in the ball to the bottom right corner beyond Buffon after receiving a pass from Andres Iniesta.
Chelsea striker Morata came off the bench and completed the rout in the 77th minute of the game.
The victory sees Spain move three points clear of Italy win three matches to go in the race. They face Liechtenstein on Tuesday.
In other World Cup qualifiers across Europe on Saturday, Georgia and Republic of Ireland played out a 1-1 draw in Group D, Serbia defeated Moldova 3-0 in Group G, Albania won 2-0 against Liechtenstein in the other Group G game.
Finland and Wales were victors over Iceland and Austria respectively with slim 1-0 wins in groups I and D while Macedonia shocked Israel 1-0 away in Group G.