Big guns France and Belgium both confirmed their places in next year’s World Cup finals in Qatar after qualifying victories on Saturday night.
Kylian Mbappe struck four as France sealed their place at the top of Group D in style with an emphatic 8-0 thrashing of Kazakhstan in Paris.
The Paris St Germain star blasted a hat-trick inside the first 32 minutes before Karim Benzema bagged a brace to take Didier Deschamps’ men five clear before the hour mark.
A goal from Adrien Rabiot and an Antoine Griezmann penalty added to the carnival atmosphere at the Parc des Princes before Mbappe rounded off the night in style three minutes from time.
Belgium made sure of top spot in Group E with a 3-1 win over Estonia in Brussels.
Christian Benteke and Yannick Carrasco gave the home side a comfortable lead and despite a minor scare when Erik Sorga reduced the deficit, Thorgan Hazard’s effort effectively sealed the Belgians’ berth in Qatar.
Wales, who had already secured a play-off place, brushed aside Belarus 5-1 and will face Belgium in Cardiff on Tuesday looking to clinch second place in the group.
Aaron Ramsey scored twice with further Welsh goals coming from Neco Williams, Ben Davies and Connor Roberts, while Artem Kontsevoy replied for the visitors.
Wales will earn second spot, and a potentially better play-off draw, if they beat or match the result of the Czech Republic, who face Estonia in Prague.
But Holland missed a chance to seal their place in the finals as they blew a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Montenegro in Podgorica.
Memphis Depay’s double looked set to seal the victory required for Louis Van Gaal’s men before two goals in the last eight minutes from Ilija Vukotic and Nikola Vujnovic salvaged a point for the home side.
The result means Holland must avoid defeat in their final Group G game against Norway in Rotterdam on Tuesday if they are to join France and Belgium in the finals.
Norway fell to third place in the group after being held to a shock goalless draw at home to Latvia.
Mohamed Elyounoussi had a late effort ruled out by VAR and the result handed the initiative to Turkey, who moved into second after cruising to a 6-0 win over Gibraltar.
Turkey now travel to Montenegro on Tuesday knowing they will secure at least second place if they match or better Norway’s result against the Dutch.
Ten-man Finland boosted their hopes of sealing a play-off place in Group D after an impressive 3-1 win in Bosnia.
Goals from Marcus Forss, Robin Lod and Daniel O’Shaughnessy sealed the win despite the Finns having Jukka Raitala sent off in the 37th minute for a foul on Sead Kolasinac.
Finland now head into their final match against already-qualified France on Tuesday knowing victory would secure second place.
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