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European Qualifiers: France and Belgium confirm their World Cup places

Kylian Mbappé's four goals for France helped to confirm the holders' FIFA World Cup finals place, with Belgium also booking their trip to Qatar.

Kylian Mbappé after completing his first Les Bleus treble
Kylian Mbappé after completing his first Les Bleus treble Icon Sport via Getty Images

Belgium and France booked their places in the FIFA World Cup finals after victories on Saturday confirmed them as winners of their European Qualifiers groups, while the Netherlands blew a golden chance in Montenegro.

With Denmark and Germany already qualified ahead of Saturday's fixtures, four of the ten automatic places are now taken, with the remaining six to be settled over the course of the final matchday. The ten group runners-up will then compete for three more places via the play-offs, along with the two best group winners of the 2020/21 UEFA Nations League overall rankings that have neither qualified directly for the final tournament as European Qualifiers group winners, nor entered the play-offs already as European Qualifiers group runners-up.

UEFA.com wraps up all the action from the Matchday 9 fixtures.

Who has qualified?


All Saturday's fixtures

Group D: Bosnia and Herzegovina 1-3 Finland, France 8-0 Kazakhstan
Group G: Norway 0-0 Latvia, Turkey 6-0 Gibraltar, Montenegro 2-2 Netherlands
Group E: Belgium 3-1 Estonia, Wales 5-1 Belarus

Four-goal Mbappé sends France through

Highlights: France 8-0 Kazakhstan

Close-range finishes in the sixth and 12th minutes and a header on 32 minutes comprised the first international hat-trick of Kylian Mbappé's career, and helped France to seal their World Cup finals spot with a resounding Group D victory against Kazakhstan. Karim Benzema struck twice after half-time, before an Adrien Rabiot goal and Antoine Griezmann's penalty made it 7-0.

However, not satisfied with becoming the first player to score three in a competitive game for France since Dominique Rocheteau in a 6-0 World Cup qualifying win over Luxembourg on 30 October 1985, Paris forward Mbappé bagged another late on to take his personal haul to four for the night. No player had hit that many in a single match for Les Bleus since Just Fontaine's four-timer against West Germany in the third-place play-off at the 1958 World Cup.

Belgium book their spot, Dutch don't

Highlights: Montenegro 2-2 Netherlands

Christian Benteke, Yannick Carrasco and Thorgan Hazard were on target as a 3-1 victory against Estonia clinched Belgium's place as Group E winners, but the Netherlands wasted a great opportunity to join their neighbours in qualifying with a match to spare. Norway's 0-0 draw with Latvia meant the Dutch would have secured top spot in Group G with a win in Montenegro, something they looked like achieving when Memphis Depay took his tally to 11 for the campaign with a penalty and a smart back-heeled finish. However, Louis van Gaal's side slumped at the last, debutant Ilija Vukotić and Nikola Vujnović scoring in the closing ten minutes to earn Montenegro a draw and set the Oranje up for a tense final-day encounter with Norway.

Best of the rest

Highlights: Turkey 6-0 Gibraltar
  • Draws elsewhere in Group G made Turkey's 6-0 success over Gibraltar all the sweeter. Halil Dervişoğlu struck twice as Stefan Kuntz's team took full advantage of their visitors being reduced to ten men after 23 minutes. With Turkey now up to second in the section, a win in their final game in Montenegro could yet send them to the finals.
  • Gareth Bale marked his 100th appearance for Wales with a comfortable victory against Belarus. The 32-year-old could not add to his 36-goal tally for his country but gave the assist for the Dragons' second in a 5-1 triumph. Wales are sure of a play-off berth, either as Group E runners-up or thanks to their UEFA Nations League ranking.

All Friday's results

Group C: Italy 1-1 Switzerland, Northern Ireland 1-0 Lithuania
Group F: Austria 4-2 Israel, Denmark 3-1 Faroe Islands, Moldova 0-2 Scotland
Group I: Andorra 1-4 Poland, England 5-0 Albania, Hungary 4-0 San Marino

England in cruise control

Highlights: England 5-0 Albania

Harry Kane's treble helped England secure a top-two finish thanks to a devastating first-half performance. The Three Lions' skipper netted a goal with his head, left foot and finally his right to complete a perfect treble just before half-time, with Harry Maguire having notched the opener and Jordan Henderson also providing a neat finish – from a Kane pass. Myrto Uzuni spurned the visitors' best chance, firing a low effort at Jordan Pickford after pouncing on Kyle Walker's under-hit back pass just minutes after England's opening goal, with Albania's faint hopes of qualification snuffed out by this defeat and Poland's victory.

Group C hinges on final matches

Highlights: Italy 1-1 Switzerland

Both Italy and Switzerland will go into Matchday 10 with hopes of topping Group C after drawing once again in Rome. A ferocious opener from Silvan Widmer gave the visitors a deserved early lead, but Giovanni Di Lorenzo's header had the teams level at half-time. Jorginho could have won it a minute from time but sent his penalty over the crossbar. The two sides remain level on points and separated by just two goals, with Italy narrowly still top.

Who needs what to qualify

Best of the rest

Highlights: Moldova 0-2 Scotland
  • Nathan Patterson fired in from a slick move and Ché Adams steered home the second as Steve Clarke's energetic Scotland side impressed against Moldova to book a top-two spot. With that, they reached a major competition play-off from a qualifying round for the first time since the preliminaries for UEFA EURO 2004.
  • Elsewhere in Group F, already-qualified Denmark maintained their perfect record by seeing off the Faroe Islands 3-1 for their ninth win from nine games. However, they did concede the first goal of their campaign (F30 A1).

All Thursday's results

Group A: Azerbaijan 1-3 Luxembourg, Republic of Ireland 0-0 Portugal
Group B: Georgia 2-0 Sweden, Greece 0-1 Spain
Group H: Russia 6-0 Cyprus, Malta 1-7 Croatia, Slovakia 2-2 Slovenia
Group J: Armenia 0-5 North Macedonia, Germany 9-0 Liechtenstein, Romania 0-0 Iceland

Spain earn key success in Greece

Highlights: Greece 0-1 Spain

La Roja need only avoid defeat at home to Sweden on Sunday to guarantee winning Group B as they ended Greece's hopes of a top-two finish courtesy of Pablo Sarabia's penalty – Spain's first goal from the spot in a World Cup qualifier since October 2009. Greece will finish third irrespective of their result at home to Kosovo on the same night.

Rampant Russia stay top

Russia will qualify for the finals if they can avoid defeat in Croatia on Sunday after a big win over Cyprus. Aleksandr Erokhin's goal was all that separated the teams at the break, but three more in seven minutes from Fedor Smolov, Andrey Mostovoy and Aleksey Sutormin gave the hosts a cushion, with Anton Zabolotny and Erokhin rounding off the victory late on.

Best of the rest

  • Zlatan Ibrahimović returned to the Sweden starting XI but the 40-year-old was given a rude awakening as Khvicha Kvaratskhelia scored both goals to give Georgia a famous victory. Spain's victory later in the evening pushed Jan Andersson's side down to second place.
  • Portugal moved above Serbia to the top of Group A despite being held to a goalless draw away to the Republic of Ireland. First place will be decided on Sunday when the pair meet in Lisbon.
  • North Macedonia boosted their chances of appearing at a maiden World Cup finals by recording a 5-0 win in Armenia. Enis Bardi struck a hat-trick, with the three points catapulting the visitors into second place after Romania were held by Iceland.
  • Croatia and already-qualified Germany racked up the goals against Malta and ten-man Liechtenstein respectively. Lovro Majer scored two of the Vatreni's seven at Ta' Qali while Leroy Sané and Thomas Müller grabbed two apiece as the Mannschaft struck nine in Wolfsburg.
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