FIFA World Cup Qualifiers: Griezmann shines for France; Depay hits hattrick

Antoine Griezmann's brace against Finland put France on 12 points from six matches at the top of Group D. On the other hand, Memphis Depay scored his first international treble for the Netherlands.

Antoine Griezmann played chief tormentor as France sprung back into life to end a five-game winless streak by beating visitor Finland 2-0 in a World Cup Group D qualifier on Tuesday.

Griezmann struck in each half after his partnership with Karim Benzema bore fruit in satisfying fashion to put the world champion on 12 points from six matches at the top of the group.

The Atletico forward has now scored 41 international goals to become France’s joint third all-time top scorer alongside Michel Platini.

Finland, who had a decent opening half, is third on five points but has two games in hand of the French.

Bosnia is fourth on three points from four games after a 2-2 draw with bottom side Kazakhstan, who also has three points. Ukraine is second on five points from as many matches.

“Even it was not perfect we showed determination and with that came some more technical quality,” said France coach Didier Deschamps.

“We had more confidence, it was more like us. It’s a very important result for us, now we have to finish the job in November.”

Croatia goes top with 3-0 win over Slovenia

Croatia went top of World Cup qualifying Group H after attacking midfielder Mario Pasalic scored one goal and set up another in a 3-0 home win over neighbour Slovenia on Tuesday.

The result left Croatia on 13 points from six games, ahead of Russia on goal difference after the Russians ground out a 2-0 home win over Malta. Third-placed Slovakia has nine points after a 2-0 victory against visiting Cyprus.

Depay hat-trick puts Netherlands top of group

Memphis Depay scored a hat-trick as the Netherlands ran out 6-1 winner over 10-man Turkey at the Amsterdam Arena on Tuesday to go top of World Cup qualifying Group G.

It was the first international treble for the 27-year-old striker as the Dutch posted an emphatic victory for the second time in four days to reach 13 points from six games and take over from Turkey at the head of the section.

Davy Klaassen scored in the opening minute in a dream start for the home side, who had lost 4-2 to Turkey in Istanbul in March at the start of the qualifiers for the Qatar 2022 finals, before Depay added three more, including a penalty.

Guus Til scored the fifth 10 minutes from time and Donyell Malen added a sixth in stoppage time before a consolation goal for Cengiz Under.

Turkey slipped from top to third in the group as it stayed on 11 points with Norway moving second, behind the Dutch on goal difference, after beating Gibraltar 5-1 on Tuesday.

Damsgaard shines as Denmark hammer Israel 5-0

Mikkel Damsgaard’s superb playmaking laid the foundations for Denmark’s 5-0 thrashing of Israel in its Group F World Cup qualifier on Tuesday.

The Danes have now won all six of their games, scoring 22 goals conceding none, and top the standings with 18 points. They have a seven-point lead over second-placed Scotland, with Israel a point further back and four games left to play.

Ronaldo-less Portugal makes light work of Azerbaijan

Portugal cruised to a 3-0 victory away to Azerbaijan in World Cup qualifying on Tuesday to move top of Group A.

Portugal was without Cristiano Ronaldo, who was suspended after picking up a yellow card while celebrating his second goal in their last-gasp 2-1 victory over Ireland last week, but his absence was not felt as first-half strikes from Bernardo Silva and Andre Silva plus a Diogo Jota header secured victory.

The victory takes Fernando Santos’s side to the top of Group A with 13 points – two ahead of its qualification rival Serbia.

Milenkovic own goal earns Ireland 1-1 draw with Serbia

A freakish own goal from central defender Nikola Milenkovic earned Ireland a 1-1 home draw with Serbia as the visitor missed a string of chances after Sergej Milinkovic-Savic fired it ahead in its Group A World Cup qualifier on Tuesday.

The result left Serbia second in the group on 11 points from five games, two behind leader Portugal who leapfrogged it into pole position with a 3-0 win in Azerbaijan earlier in the day.

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