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Uefa WC qualifying wrap: Ronaldo scores four against Andorra

  • Published at 11:58 am October 8th, 2016
Uefa WC qualifying wrap: Ronaldo scores four against Andorra
Cristiano Ronaldo scored four goals, including two in the first five minutes, to lead European champions Portugal to a 6-0 win over nine-man Andorra in their World Cup qualifier on Friday. It was the Portugal captain's fourth hat-trick for his country and the first time he has scored four in an international, taking his tally to 65 goals in 134 appearances. The win got Portugal off the mark in Group B after a shock 2-0 defeat away to Switzerland in their opening game last month when Ronaldo was missing through injury. However, they are still three points behind Switzerland, who won 3-2 in Hungary, and also trail the Faroe Islands, who have four points after winning 2-0 in Latvia. Andorra's Jordi Rubio was dismissed in the 62nd minute and Marc Rebes followed nine minutes later, both for fouling Ronaldo. [caption id="attachment_20742" align="alignnone" width="640"]Football Soccer - Portugal v Andorra - World Cup 2018 Qualifier - Aveiro stadium, Aveiro, Portugal - 07/10/16. Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his second goal against Andorra.  REUTERS/Rafael Marchante Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his second goal against Andorra REUTERS[/caption] "We knew that the first goal would be really important against a team which puts 11 players behind the ball," said Ronaldo. "I know I am important as are all the other players. I have always given everything for the national team, I feel useful and I'm happy to be back after that injury in the European championship. There are eight games to go and we want to win all eight to go to the World Cup." Ronaldo, who had limped off during the Euro 2016 final win over France, opened his account after 73 seconds, driving the ball home after Andorra failed to clear a corner, and then headed home Ricardo Quaresma's cross in the fourth minute. Jose Fonte was brilliantly denied by Andorra goalkeeper Josep Gomes, Andre Silva hit the bar and Ronaldo was close with another header before Joao Cancelo added a third in the 44th. Ronaldo completed his hat-trick two minutes after halftime when he volleyed in Andre Gomes' cross and scored his fourth in the 68th after Fonte headed Quaresma's cross into his path. Andre Silva added the sixth late on with a deflected shot. Group B Portugal 6 (Ronaldo 2, 4, 47, 68, Cancelo 44, Silva 86) Andorra 0 Latvia 0 Faroe Islands 2 (Nattestad 19, Edmundsson 70) Hungary 2 (Szalai 53, 71) Switzerland 3 (Seferovic 51, Rodriguez 67, Stocker 89) Standings P W D L F A Pts 1 Switzerland 2 2 0 0 5 2 6 2 Faroe Islands 2 1 1 0 2 0 4 3 Portugal 2 1 0 1 6 2 3 4 Latvia 2 1 0 1 1 2 3 5 Hungary 2 0 1 1 2 3 1 6 Andorra 2 0 0 2 0 7 0

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France ease 1993 memories by crushing Bulgaria

France produced a scintillating show as they put memories of one of the most painful moments in their soccer history to one side by crushing Bulgaria 4-1 in a World Cup Group A qualifier on Friday. Les Bleus had not hosted Bulgaria since an infamous qualifier in November 1993 when they conceded a late goal to lose 2-1, a defeat that meant they missed out on a place at the following year's World Cup in the United States. The home side trailed again at the Stade de France on Friday after conceding an early penalty but bounced back by taking control of the midfield and breaching a porous defence almost at will. Goals from Kevin Gameiro, Dimitri Payet and Antoine Griezmann put them 3-1 up at the break. Gameiro, stylishly celebrating his first international for five years, then completed the scoring with his second goal of the night in the 59th minute. France, with four points from two games, are joint top of the group alongside Netherlands and Sweden. Bulgaria occupy fourth position on three points. The visitors went ahead against the run of play in the sixth minute, Mihail Aleksandrov converting from the spot after Georgi Milanov was fouled by Bacary Sagna. [caption id="attachment_20744" align="alignnone" width="640"]Football Soccer - France v Bulgaria - 2018 World Cup Qualifying European Zone - Group A - Stade de France, Saint-Denis near Paris, France - 7/10/16. France's Antoine Griezmann scores a goal. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer France's Antoine Griezmann scores a goal REUTERS[/caption] Right back Sagna made amends with a perfect cross for Gameiro who levelled with a bullet of a diving header after 23 minutes. Payet made it 2-1 three minutes later with a cross-shot from out on the left that eluded everyone in the box. Griezmann then exploited a defensive blunder to race into the area unchallenged and add the third goal. France's fourth goal was arguably their best, Layvin Kurzawa showing off his skills down the left before Griezmann set up Atletico Madrid team mate Gameiro to fire home from close range. "It was a perfect night," said the two-goal forward. "We were able to react and then to stamp our authority on the game. I felt a lot of pride." The fact Gameiro and Griezmann combined excellently throughout was one of the keys to France's convincing victory. "We both play our game and it works out well," Gameiro said. "Let's hope it will last." Euro 2016 runners-up France, who kicked off their Group A campaign with a dismal 0-0 draw in Belarus, next play Netherlands in Amsterdam on Monday. Bulgaria, trying to qualify for the finals of a major event for the first time since the 2004 European Championship, go on to visit Sweden. Group A Luxembourg 0 Sweden 1 (Lustig 58) Netherlands 4 (Promes 15, 31, Klaassen 55, Janssen 64) Belarus 1 (Rios 47) France 4 (Gameiro 23, 59, Payet 26, Griezmann 38) Bulgaria 1 (Aleksandrov 6-pen) Standings P W D L F A Pts 1 Netherlands 2 1 1 0 5 2 4 2 France 2 1 1 0 4 1 4 3 Sweden 2 1 1 0 2 1 4 4 Bulgaria 2 1 0 1 5 7 3 5 Belarus 2 0 1 1 1 4 1 6 Luxembourg 2 0 0 2 3 5 0

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Belgium brush aside Bosnia 4-0 

Belgium swept past a defensively frail Bosnia side to secure a 4-0 victory in their World Cup qualifier on Friday and give themselves a perfect start from their first two matches. Emir Spahic put through his own net before Eden Hazard ran through to make it 2-0 before halftime. Toby Alderweireld added the third on the hour with a clever finish from a corner before Romelu Lukaku wrapped up the win with a fine solo goal. Belgium lead Group H with six points above Greece, who won 2-0 at home to Cyprus, on goal difference. The opener came from a seemingly innocuous cross from Thomas Meunier which fell to Bosnia defender Spahic, who under no pressure managed to beat his own keeper Asmir Begovic, a slight deflection perhaps forcing his embarrassing miscue. Two minutes later, following Bosnia's failure to clear, Dries Mertens split open the defence to find an advancing Hazard, who rounded Begovic to slot in from a tight angle. [caption id="attachment_20743" align="alignnone" width="640"]Football Soccer - Belgium v Bosnia and Herzegovina - World Cup 2018 Qualifier - King Baudouin stadium, Brussels, Belgium - 7/10/16. Belgium's Toby Alderweireld scores against Bosnia. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir Belgium's Toby Alderweireld scores against Bosnia REUTERS[/caption] Defender Alderweireld scoresd with a neat flick at the front post from a corner before striker Lukaku, who had missed an open goal, made amends with a fine solo effort 10 minutes from time. Belgium showed little sign that they were missing injured captain Vincent Kompany or midfielder Kevin De Bruyne. They also lost left back Jordan Lukaku with an injury early in the first half but the defence managed to shackle Edin Dzeko, who had scored in Bosnia's last four matches against Belgium. Belgium's victory brings the record between the sides to three wins each, and two in a row for the hosts, who beat Bosnia 3-1 in September 2015 on their way to Euro 2016. Belgium next travel to play Gibraltar in Portugal on Monday, when Bosnia host Cyprus. Group H Greece 2 (Mitroglou 12, Mantalos 42) Cyprus 0 Belgium 4 (Spahic 26-og, Hazard 28, Alderweireld 60, Lukaku 79) Bosnia and Herzegovina 0 Estonia 4 (Kait 47, 70, Vassiljev 52, Mosnikov 88) Gibraltar 0 Standings P W D L F A Pts 1 Belgium 2 2 0 0 7 0 6 2 Greece 2 2 0 0 6 1 6 3 Bosnia 2 1 0 1 5 4 3 4 Estonia 2 1 0 1 4 5 3 5 Cyprus 2 0 0 2 0 5 0 6 Gibraltar 2 0 0 2 1 8 0