What to watch for in Friday's European Qualifiers

France revisit one of their darkest footballing days, Chelsea keepers go head-to-head, Luxembourg target a shock and Cristiano Ronaldo eyes goals.

©Getty Images

Can France slay ghost of '93?
"I really don't want to talk about that," Didier Deschamps said recently when asked about France's infamous last-gasp loss to Bulgaria in 1993 that barred their path to the 1994 FIFA World Cup – the last time Les Bleus failed to reach a major finals. "It was 23 years ago, it's time to move on," added the former midfielder, whose team were held by Belarus last time out. With Bulgaria now led by Petar Hubchev, who lined up against Deschamps that fateful night, that may be wishful thinking.
France v Bulgaria, 20:45CEST

Highlights: Bulgaria 4-3 Luxembourg
Highlights: Bulgaria 4-3 Luxembourg

Luxembourg: whipping boys no more
The days when a qualifier against Luxembourg meant three points and an opportunity to improve your goal difference are over. They have posted wins against Greece, FYR Macedonia and Switzerland in recent years, and it is half a decade since they lost by more than four goals. Indeed, Bulgaria needed a 92nd-minute strike to squeeze them out in a seven-goal thriller last month. Captain Aurélien Joachim scored two in Sofia and has been in fine fettle for Lierse in the Belgian second division.
Luxembourg v Sweden, 20:45CEST

Other games in Group A
Netherlands v Belarus, 20:45CEST

Ronaldo back as Portugal look to bounce back
The European champions made an inauspicious start to qualifying, suffering a chastening 2-0 defeat in Switzerland last month. Andorra, who have lost 90 of their 93 EURO and World Cup qualifiers to date, should provide less of a handful. Cristiano Ronaldo is back in the ranks and, after a sluggish early season by his lofty standards, this could be the match that kickstarts his 2016/17.
Portugal v Andorra, 20:45CEST

Cristiano Ronaldo: My Portugal story
Cristiano Ronaldo: My Portugal story

Other games in Group B
Hungary v Switzerland, 20:45CEST
Latvia v Faroe Islands, 20:45CEST

In-form strikers v Chelsea keepers
Belgium and Bosnia and Herzegovina scored eight between them on matchday one (without reply) and with several forwards bang in form, there is a long night in store for players of a defensive persuasion in Brussels. Romelu Lukaku and Edin Džeko both have five league goals apiece this term, while rejuvenated Christian Benteke is in line for his first international start in 12 months. Then there's the goalkeeping sub-plot: in the Blues' end, Belgium's Thibaut Courtois; and in the, well, Blues' end, Bosnia's Asmir Begović. Chelsea players both.
Belgium v Bosnia and Herzegovina, 20:45CEST

Other games in Group H
Greece v Cyprus, 20:45CEST
Estonia v Gibraltar, 20:45CEST