World Cup qualifiers
Wed, 11/10/17, 09:20
Tolisso, Coman and James book ticket to Russia
Corentin Tolisso, Kingsley Coman and James Rodríguez have reason to celebrate, whereas Tuesday was a bitter day for Arjen Robben and Arturo Vidal. France with Tolisso and Coman in the starting line-up beat Belarus 2-1, sealing a spot in the 2018 World Cup finals, as did James' Colombia after a 1-1 draw with Peru. Robben fired the Netherlands to a 2-0 victory over Sweden, scoring a brace, but the Elftal will not travel to the finals in Russia. Vidal watched a dramatic South American qualifying day on TV.
France win Group A
Tolisso, who played the full 90 minutes, and Coman, who left the pitch after the hour, made the starting line-up for France. The latter set up a number of chances at the Stade de France, Olivier Giroud connecting with a Coman cross only to be denied by the crossbar after 20 minutes. Tolisso played a role in the move that invited Antoine Griezmann to open the scoring before the half-hour, Giroud soon doubling the lead. Anton Saroka pulled one back with the half-time whistle imminent, but with no further goals to come France won the match and Group A.
Robben scores brace and retires
The Netherlands and Sweden were looking to finish in second place behind France, but the Dutchmen had very slim hopes as they needed a seven-goal win to make it to the play-offs. Captain Robben shone in Amsterdam, converting a penalty after the quarter-hour and netting from distance before half-time. But more goals refused to come, and the Elftal will not feature in the World Cup finals. Robben announced his retirement from international football after the final whistle.
The day was no less dramatic in South America. Chile travelled to face Brazil, who had already qualified. The Chileans, who had to make do without Vidal due to a one-match ban, lost 3-0, Paulinho and two-goal Gabriel Jesus scoring for Brazil. The 2015 and 2016 Copa America champions were dependent on other results now, but Colombia's 1-1 draw with Peru meant Chile failed to book a berth in Russia.
FCB pro James put Colombia in front at Lima's Estadio Nacional, but former Munich man Paolo Guerrero levelled the scores with a quarter-hour to go. Colombia finished fourth, sealing a spot in the 2018 finals, whereas Peru made it to a play-off against New Zealand.