Nine UEFA World Cup Qualifying fixtures were played, with big wins for Estonia and Sweden, and a thrilling encounter between Belgium and Bosnia.
Bosnia Herzegovina 3-4 Belgium
In a thrilling back-and-forth encounter, Belgium just edged out ahead of their hosts Bosnia Herzegovina.
The scoring was started by PSG defender Thomas Meunier on just 4 minutes.
Bosnia were unfazed, however, and on 30 minutes equalised through midfielder Haris Medunjanin, who plays his club football for MLS side Philadelphia Union.
Invigorated by their equaliser, Bosnia continued to push on and Edin Visca put them ahead on 39 minutes.
The back-and-forth nature of the game continued in the second half as two Premier League players helped put Belgium back in front.
First Chelsea’s Michy Batshuayi equalised after 59 minutes, before Tottenham’s Jan Vertonghen put his country ahead on 68 minutes.
Bosnia fought back once more, with Dario Dumic of Utrecht putting the scores back level on 81 minutes.
That parity lasted just three minutes though, and on 84 minutes Atletico Madrid forward Yannick Carrasco hit what would prove to be the winner.
It was a thrilling contest, evenly balanced throughout, which served as a fantastic example of football at the highest level.
Gibraltar 0-6 Estonia
Estonia found little problem in brushing aside minnows Gibraltar, hitting six against UEFA’s relative newcomers.
On 10 minutes, Estonia’s account was opened with a finish from Siim Luts, who plays his club football for Czech side Bohemians 1905.
Fulham’s Mattias Kait added a second on 30 minutes, before Sergei Zenjov of Cracovia made it three before the break on 39 minutes.
The second half proved to offer more of the same, as striker Joonas Tamm, who plays for domestic league side Flora, hit a hat trick.
Tamm scored his first on 52 minutes, before adding his second and Estonia’s fifth after 66 minutes. He completed his hat trick, and Estonia’s rout, on 77 minutes.
Sweden 8-0 Luxembourg
Sweden tore apart Luxembourg, showing a deadly clinical attitude in front of goal.
The deadlock was broken after just 10 minutes when captain Andreas Granqvist, who plays for Krasnodar in Russia, converted a penalty.
Al Ain’s Marcus Berg then added two more in the first half, the first of which came on 18 minutes. The forward added his second and Sweden’s third on 37 minutes.
After the interval, Sweden switched into an even higher gear and Luxembourg simply couldn’t cope.
Berg completed his hat trick on 54 minutes, before Celtic’s Mikael Lustig added Sweden’s fifth on 60 minutes.
Defender Granqvist scored his second penalty of the game on 67 minutes, before Marcus Berg scored his fourth of the game – and Sweden’s seventh – just four minutes later on 71 minutes.
Toulouse’s Ola Toivonen rounded off the scoring with Sweden’s eighth on 76 minutes.
It was a clinical performance that heavily boosted Sweden’s goal difference, which could all but prove curtains for Holland as a result.
Faroe Islands 0-0 Latvia
A game that wasn’t void of goal attempts – some 17 falling to the Faroe Islands, and 11 to Latvia – but significantly lacked some clinical finishing.
The result mattered only in terms of pride to the two nations, neither of whom could qualify for the 2018 World Cup anyway.
Andorra 0-2 Portugal
In a game against much weaker opposition, Portugal found themselves frustrated by a resilient Andorran defence more than happy to timewaste.
It took until the final half hour to break the deadlock, with talisman forward Cristiano Ronaldo finding the net on 63 minutes.
AC Milan’s Andre Silva added a second on 86 minutes to make the score look a slight bit more predictable, but it was still a less clinical performance than would have been predicted of Portugal.
Belarus 1-3 Holland
Holland went into the game with the slimmest of hopes of qualifying for Russia 2018, and given Sweden’s superior goal difference – not helped by their 8-0 thumping of Luxembourg earlier in the day – they knew they needed every goal they could get in this one.
Brighton’s Davy Propper opened the scoring on 24 minutes to keep the slimmest of Dutch hopes alive.
However, on 55 minutes, disaster struck for the Netherlands when Belarus’ Maksim Volodko – who plays club football for domestic side BATE Borisov – netted through a cracking low drive.
Arjen Robben converted a penalty on 84 minutes to restore Holland’s lead, and their chances to reach the World Cup – at least in the eyes of the mathematicians.
Memphis Depay added a late third for Holland on 90 minutes, who despite earning victory, are required to beat Sweden by a six goal margin if they wish to feature in Russia.
Bulgaria 0-1 France
In a rain-soaked evening in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, France raced into an early lead.
Juventus midfielder Blaise Matuidi crashed a rising shot into the far corner from a tight angle after being played in by Antoine Greizmann.
After their early goal, France found themselves struggling to break through a suddenly much more resilient Bulgarian defence.
The Bulgarians offered a physical challenge to their visitors, and after the break began to look dangerous on the attack too.
As Bulgaria began to tire and fade France once more took control, but offered little in the way of a killer second goal, instead holding on to snatch a good win in tough conditions against an opposition out to give them a challenge.
Cyprus 1-2 Greece
All of the goals in the rival match between Cyprus and Greece came in eight first half minutes.
Cyprus’ Pieros Sotiriou – who plays his club football at Denmark’s FC Copenhagen – opened the scoring on 18 minutes.
However, Greece hit back with two quickfire goals in two minutes, the first of which coming on 25 minutes from Marseille striker Konstantinos Mitroglou.
Then, less than a minute later on 26 minutes, Greek midfielder Alexandros Tziolis, who plays for Al-Fayha in Saudi Arabia, scored Greece’s second and completed the turnaround.
Switzerland 5-2 Hungary
Switzerland came out all guns blazing against Hungary, having a total of 24 shots in the game – 14 of which were on target.
They opened the scoring through Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka on 18 minutes, before Mainz’s Fabian Frei quickly doubled their advantage two minutes later on 20 minutes.
Hoffenheim’s Steven Zuber scored either side of halftime, on 43 minutes and 49 minutes, before Hungary pulled a goal back on 58 minutes through Richard Guzmics – who plays for China’s Yanbian Funde.
Juventus’ Stephan Lichtsteiner made it five to Switzerland on 83 minutes, before 24-year-old Roland Ugrai got a second goal back for Hungary on 88 minutes.