Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 11th 2017 Contents A26 sports
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Portugal, France book World
Cup tickets; Dutch to stay home
GENEVA --- Cristiano Ronaldo and
Portugal are going to the World Cup
and not by the risky playoff route
France also sealed its ticket to
Russia yesterday after, like Portu-
gal, needing a second chance in the
playoffs to reach the 2010 and 2014
After runner-up and third-place
inishes at those World Cups, the
Netherlands will miss out in 2018
after inishing third in France's
Group A, despite beating Sweden
Portugal beat Switzerland 2 0 in a
qualifying duel in Lisbon, to extend
its winning streak to nine games and
end a perfect Swiss record in Group
B. The European champion already
had a superior goal difference and
needed a win by any score to top the
France also was assured to ad-
vance with three points, and beat
visiting Belarus 2 1.
Belgium had already quali ied
and completed an unbeaten Group
H program beating Cyprus 4 0. The
Belgians will be in the top-seeded
pot for the Dec. 1 draw in Moscow.
The European playoffs draw
--- with Switzerland, Sweden and
Greece completing the eight-team
lineup --- is made next Tuesday in
Here's a look at the inal round of
European qualifying group games:
France will take one of the most
talent-packed squads to Russia.
Antoine Griezmann scored and
then created France's second goal
just six minutes later, with Olivier
Giroud giving the hosts a comforta-
ble lead after 33 minutes. Just before
halftime, Anton Saroka scored for
Belarus to make for a tense second
France has been relatively un-
troubled throughout qualifying ---
and was not punished for a goalless
draw against Luxembourg --- but has
dropped its level since being run-
ner-up at Euro 2016.
Sweden needed to avoid a sev-
en-goal rout in Amsterdam to ad-
vance to the playoffs, and allowed
just a 2 0 loss to the Netherlands.
Arjen Robben scored in the irst
half from the penalty spot and then
with a sweeping left-foot shot from
outside the penalty area, in what he
said was his inal game for his coun-
try. Robben exits with 37 goals in 96
international games, including the
2010 World Cup inal.
Luxembourg managed another
draw, 1 1 at home to Bulgaria, to in-
ish with six points in ifth place.
Cristiano Ronaldo was absent ---
still recovering from his injury in the
Euro 2016 inal --- when Portugal lost
its opening match in qualifying, 2 0
With the current world's best
player restored, Portugal had to
win nine straight to win the group.
The task was inished at a vibrant
Stadium Of Light, where the fans in-
cluded Madonna and her son who is
reportedly a youth trainee with host
club Ben ica.
Ronaldo did not add to his 15
goals on Tuesday, but an own-goal
by Swiss defender Johan Djourou
before halftime and a ninth in qual-
ifying by AC Milan forward Andre
Silva early in the second half were
The Swiss must lift themselves for
a two-leg playoff against Northern
Ireland, Sweden, Ireland or Greece.
Hungary con irmed its third place
by beating the Faeroe Islands 1 0,
and Latvia beat Andorra 4 0.
Belgium won the group last
month, as the irst European team
to qualify, and inished in style in
Brussels against Cyprus.
Eden Hazard got two goals, his
brother Thorgan also scored and
substitute Romelu Lukaku got the
fourth as Belgium tallied 43 in 10
Greece needed to beat Gibraltar to
inish runner-up and claim a playoff
lifeline. A 4 0 win for the Euro 2004
champions meant Gibraltar ended
with zero points and 47 conceded.
was the only away team to win in
Europe yesterday, beating Estonia
Australia beats India in 2nd T20, levels series
GUWAHATI, India --- Australia swept
to an eight-wicket victory over India
in their second Twenty20 yesterday,
after Moises Henriques and Travis
Head piled on an unbeaten 109-run
partnership for the second wicket to
level the three-match series.
Australia needed only 15.3 overs
to reach 122 2 in reply, after Jason
Behrendorff had taken a career-best
4 21 to bowl out the hosts for 118
runs. Adam Zampa took two wick-
ets for 19 runs.
Henriques scored 62 off 46 balls,
including four fours and four sixes,
while Head made 48 with the help
of ive fours and a six.
A rock was thrown at Australia's
team bus, smashing a window, after
the match. Players and staff were
traveling back to the hotel from the
Barsapara Stadium, when the bus
Batsman Aaron Finch tweeted a
photograph of the broken window,
saying: "Pretty scary having a rock
thrown through the team bus win-
dow." Cricket Australia said no one
was injured, but the players were
"shaken up by the incident."
It was Australia's irst win in eight
T20 games against India ahead of se-
ries decider in Hyderabad on Friday.
"Jason has got the height and
bounce, he comes from Perth and
has the right attitude, which is key.
Zampa was fantastic as well. Hen-
riques came and showed his expe-
rience. Hopefully the crowd gets
behind us in Hyderabad," David
Warner (2) and Finch (8) fell early
in the chase as Australia was re-
duced to 13 2 in the third over, with
Jasprit Bumrah (1 25) and Bhuvnesh-
war Kumar (1 9) respectively taking
But India's hopes of defending a
small target were dashed as their
spinners, Kuldeep Yadav (0 46) and
Yuzvendra Chahal (0 29), struggled
in dewy conditions.
Henriques and Head were watch-
ful early on, but opened up later in
the innings to put on 50 runs off just
41 balls, and then bring up the 100
partnership off 73 deliveries.
Earlier, Behrendorff took three
wickets in the space of eight balls.
Behrendorff trapped Rohit
Sharma (8) lbw and then caught a
return catch off Virat Kohli (0) as the
duo fell in the space of three balls
in the irst over. It was Kohli's irst
duck in international T20 cricket.
Behrendorff 's igures were the
best for Australia against India in
T20 cricket. He improved on Na-
than Bracken's 3 11 at Melbourne in
Netherland's Arjen Robben, right, challenges for the ball with Sweden's Emil
Forsberg during a World Cup Group A qualifying match between the
Netherlands and Sweden at the ArenA stadium in Amsterdam, Netherlands,
UEFA AT THE 2018 WORLD CUP
Republic of Ireland
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