France Book Russia Spot With Belarus Win

Posted October 12, 2017

Yet, both sides have much to improve on after stuttering campaigns almost derailed their hopes for automatic qualification as respective group winners.

France midfielder Blaise Matuidi has said he is not anxious by the team's unconvincing World Cup qualifying campaign, saying they have "huge potential". Didier Deschamps' men are coming from a slim 1-0 win against Bulgaria, where a goal by Blaise Matuidi secured the three points from the game. This was a very different scenario, though, as France rarely looked in difficulty against limited opponents who have never found a generation of players to replace the likes of Hristo Stoichkov and Yordan Letchkov, who took them to the semi-finals in the US.

The last match between the two resulted in a 0-0 draw.

"We didn't control the matches", he admitted.

According to Guy Atkinson of Goal, Deschamps became the country's most successful national coach as he broke the record of 41 wins after his team defeated Bulgaria.

Belarus are only ahead of Luxembourg at the bottom of the group on goal difference and Tchernik said: "It's a special game for me because it's taking place in France".

Cristiano Ronaldo's side had lost their qualifying campaign opener 2-0 to the Swiss, and had to win all nine remaining games to pip their rivals to top spot in the table.

The Netherlands are looking to avoid failing to qualify for successive major tournaments for the first time since 1986, having also missed out on Euro 2016.

Switzerland will be among the seeded countries for the play-off draw on Oct 17 and could face Sweden, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland or Greece for a place at Russian Federation 2018.

"For quite some time we have had an atmosphere that we have not always had, people come and are deep behind this team", he added.