4 Sep 2017

Belgium qualify for World Cup

11:11 am on 4 September 2017

Belgium qualified for next year's Fifa World Cup with two games to spare when they won 2-1 away to Greece.

Fifa World Cup trophy

Fifa World Cup trophy Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Romelu Lukaku headed the winner in the 74th minute to give Belgium an unassailable eight-point lead over Bosnia at the top of Group H.

The Red Devils join Brazil, Mexico, Iran and Japan in qualifying for the World Cup, with Russia automatically getting a place as hosts.

Davy Propper struck twice to keep Netherlands' hopes of qualifying alive with a 3-1 win over Bulgaria, but Sweden thrashed Belarus 4-0 to pull level with France at the top of Group A.

Arjen Robben netted the Dutch's other goal as they moved into third place on 13 points, one ahead of Bulgaria, but an Emil Forsberg-inspired Sweden helped his country match France on 16 points having played a game more, keeping the Netherlands at arm's length.

Croatia beat Kosovo in their qualifier, which resumed on 21 minutes after being postponed yesterday due to a waterlogged pitch, earning a 1-0 win to send them to the top of Group I thanks to Domagoj Vida's header.

In Amsterdam, the hosts went ahead when Propper netted in the seventh minute, firing home after good work by Manchester United defender Daley Blind.

Robben scored the second in the 67th minute for his dominant side, finishing the excellent Blind's cross from six yards out after a superb team move which he started off.

However, two minutes later, Bulgaria hit back, with Georgi Kostadinov getting the slightest of touches on Ivelin Popov's free kick to direct it inside Jasper Cillessen's post.

Brighton midfielder Propper scored his second in the 80th minute to seal victory, heading Quincy Promes' cross into the far corner.

The Dutch travel to Belarus and then host Sweden in October, with the latter clash likely to be crucial in the teams' bid to secure a place in Russia next summer.

Sweden ran riot in Belarus, with Forsberg sending the visitors ahead in the 18th minute when he reached Mikael Lustig's long ball and rounded the goalkeeper, who was out of position.

Christoffer Nyman doubled the lead in the 24th minute when he stole the ball on the edge of the area and slammed home, and Forsberg set up Marcus Berg eight minutes before half-time to make it three, beating goalkeeper Serge Chernik to the ball and heading into the empty net.

Forsberg rattled the crossbar with a powerful free kick as Sweden looked to add to their lead, eventually doing so through Andreas Granqvist's penalty in the 84th minute.

In Group B, Faroe Islands beat Andorra 1-0 thanks to Gilli Sorensen's goal, while in Group H Estonia beat Cyprus by the same scoreline with a late strike from Mattias Kait.