The penultimate round of European World Cup qualifying concluded on Saturday with a number of teams taking significant steps in their bid to secure their place in Russia next summer.
In the evening's early kick offs, already qualified Belgium won a seven goal thriller with Bosnia and Herzegovina 4-3, in a game that saw Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini limp off with an injury to his left knee.
Marouane Fellaini substituted after 29 mins of Belgium's qualifier with Bosnia after picking up a knee injury. Mourinho will be thrilled.— Rob Dawson (@RobDawsonESPN) October 7, 2017
Thomas Meunier had put the Belgians a goal up inside four minutes, but Bosnia, still searching for points to secure a playoff place, rallied to lead 2-1 at the break. The game was however turned on its head for a second time after the break, with goals from Michy Batshuayi and Jan Vertonghen putting Belgium 3-2 up.
Dario Dumic's header eight minutes from time looked to have given Bosnia a precious point, but minutes later Yannick Ferreira Carrasco netted from a tight angle to secure the win for Belgium. The win means the likes of Wales and Scotland will definitely make the play offs if they win their final fixturs
⏱ 58 minutes: Bosnia 2-1 Belgium— bet365 (@bet365) October 7, 2017
⏱ 83 minutes: Bosnia 3-4 Belgium
Some game. pic.twitter.com/0MrJNVwmRr
The other early kickoff in that group saw qualifying rookies Gibraltar suffer yet another thrashing, loosing 6-0 at home to Estonia.
The early kick off in Group A saw Sweden keep the pressure up on group leaders France with an 8-0 thrashing of Luxembourg, with Marcus Berg scoring four and captain Andreas Granqvist netting twice from the penalty spot. That result sees Sweden move top of the group two points ahead of France prior to their game in Bulgaria later this evening.
Intriguingly, that 8-0 win has all but eliminated the Netherlands, who play later this evening but now trail the Swedes by six points, with a massive -14 goal difference deficit. It all but ensures Sweden will earn a play off place at least, with the Dutch needing a miracle.
Marcus Berg has the first 4-goal game for a Swedish player since Zlatan Ibrahimovic on Nov. 14, 2012 vs England. pic.twitter.com/GN7CFC1ybH— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 7, 2017
The other early kickoff of the evening saw Faroe Islands draw 0-0 with Latvia.