World Cup Qualifiers

WCQ: France Are One Win Away From Returning To FIFA World Cup

SOFIA, BULGARIA - OCTOBER 7: Blaise Matuidi of France celebrates the victory following the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier between Bulgaria and France at Vasil Levski National Stadium on October 7, 2017 in Sofia, Bulgaria. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
WCQ: France Are One Win Away From Returning To FIFA World Cup

An extremely cathartic performance hindered Didier Deschamps Bleus of France, but a third minute goal from former PSG frontman and now Juventus trigger man Blaise Matuidi gave the visitors a 1-0 win over Petar Hubchev’s Lions of Bulgaria at the Vasil Levski National Stadium in Sofia. The match was a defensive showdown, with neither side gaining much of an advantage to go with a spirited defensive effort from the hosts.

The historical significance of this result what it was France’s first win over Bulgaria since June 9, 1932. But despite the result, Les Bleus are not safe just yet and can still drop into the second round. That’s because Janne Andersson’s Blagult of Sweden routed Luxembourg 8-0 at home to increase their goal differential.

A shock France loss to already-eliminated Belarus combined with a draw or better by Sweden against Dick Advocaat’s Netherlands at the Amsterdam ArenA on Oct. 10 will put Les Bleus in the possible position of missing out on the FIFA World Cup via the second round playoffs. It has been a sorry campaign in terms of results for France, who had some horror results against Luxembourg at home and Sweden away. Tuesday will be one of the biggest days in French football history as a result.

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The prince of Paris Saint-Germain, forward Kylian Mbappe, had a tough shift on the road but should be having a far better outing under the bright lights of the world-famed Stade de France on the final day of European qualification in the first round for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

“He’s doing some great things,” said France teammate and current Chelsea star N’Golo Kanté. “He has great technical qualities, bags of pace, he scores, he plays for others and has his head on his shoulders. He’s got some great years ahead of him.”

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@joryansalazar

Jo-Ryan Salazar is a writer for The Stoppage Time, a soccer blog powered by Azteca Soccer. A supporter of the Los Angeles Galaxy since 1996 and a committed supporter since 2002, Jo-Ryan also follows Chelsea FC, Melbourne Victory, FC Tokyo and Paris Saint-Germain. Apart from soccer, Jo-Ryan is an administrative assistant for a local nonprofit in Long Beach, California and also does photography, photo-editing and fictional writing.

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