France, Belgium through to Qatar with easy victories

The Netherlands fluffs its lines by conceding two late goals

While Kylian Mbappe’s four goals in an 8-0 rout of Kazakhstan ensured defending champion France reached next year’s World Cup along with victorious Belgium, the Netherlands failed to join them after conceding two late goals.

Belgium was less spectacular beating Estonia 3-1 at home but has an unassailable five point-lead over second-place Wales, which beat Belarus 5-1 in Cardiff and has a three-point lead over the Czech Republic for a playoff spot.

After missing out on the last World Cup, the Dutch looked set to go through after leading 2-0 at Montenegro with goals from Memphis Depay.

Yet Montenegro struck twice in the last eight minutes to make it 2-2, and that gives Turkey and Norway a chance for top spot since they are two points behind with one game left.

Turkey has a narrow +1 advantage over Norway on goal difference heading into their final group games on Tuesday, where scoring could prove crucial.

Norway travels to the Netherlands without the prolific Haaland and Montenegro hosts Turkey.

Emulating Fontaine

Mbappe became the first France player since Just Fontaine at the 1958 World Cup to score four times in one game.

After 32 minutes he had his first international hat trick.

The second-place finisher enters the playoffs and Finland has a chance, although it next hosts rampant France.

The Finns won 3-1 at Bosnia and Herzegovina despite playing more than 50 minutes with a player less to move above Ukraine and into second place.

There was no Romelu Lukaku up front for Belgium as he recovers from a minor injury, so Christian Benteke stepped in and put his side ahead against Estonia after 11 minutes.

Aaron Ramsey was even quicker, taking three minutes to put Wales 1-0 up and Liverpool defender Neco Williams doubled the lead in the 20th.

Ramsey ‘s penalty made it 3-0 shortly after the break.

Yannick Carrasco and Thorgan Hazard netted second-half goals for Belgium, while goals from Ben Davies and Conner Roberts capped a fine night for Wales — which next hosts Belgium.

The results: Group D: Bosnia-Herzegovina 1 (Menalo 69) lost to Finland 3 (Forss 29, Lod 51, O’Shaughnessy 73); France 8 (Mbappe 6, 12, 32, 87, Benzema 55, 59, Rabiot 75, Griezmann 84-pen) bt Kazakhstan 0.

Group E: Wales 5 (Ramsey 3, 50-pen, N. Williams 20, B. Davies 77, C. Roberts 89) bt Belarus 1 (Kontsevoi 87); Belgium 3 (Benteke 11, Carrasco 53, T. Hazard 74) bt Estonia 1 (Sorga 70).

Group G: Norway 0 drew with Latvia 0; Turkey 6 (Kerem Akturkoglu 11, Dervisoglu 38, 41, Demiral 65, Dursun 81, Mert Muldur 84) bt Gibraltar 0; Montenegro 2 (Vukotic 82, Vujnovic 86) drew with the Netherlands 2 (Depay 25-pen, 54).

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