France Edge Closer To WC Qualification
2018 World Cup Qualifier Report: Bulgaria v France 07 October 2017
2018 World Cup Qualifier
Result: Bulgaria 0-1 France
Date: 07 October 2017
Venue: Vasil Levski National Stadium
France claimed a 1-0 away win over Bulgaria at the Stadion Vasil Levski in Sofia to go top of Group A heading into the final group stage round of Europe’s World Cup qualifiers.
Les Bleus took the lead as early as the third minute as Blaise Matuidi fired home from close range after getting the ball from Antoine Griezmann.
The first booking of the game came in the ninth minute, when Simeon Slavchev was yellow carded for pulling back Kylian Mbappé.
The visitors continued to dominate and nearly found a second seven minutes later when N’golo Kanté found Mbappé in space on the left and the PSG forward forced a fine save from Plamen Iliev at the near post.
In the 29th minute, Les Bleus threatened again as Vasil Bozhikov had to fly in and divert Alexandre Lacazette’s shot wide of goal with some astute defending.
Hugo Lloris almost gifted Bulgaria an equaliser against the run of play when he spilled Todor Nedelev’s 37th minute shot. However, he was able to spare his blushes by keeping the hosts out from the play that followed.
France therefore went into half-time leading 1-0 and on course to end the night at the top of Group A.
Within six minutes after the break, Petar Zanev picked up a yellow card for a foul on Corentin Tolisso.
However, straight afterwards, Bulgaria came close to equalising as Nedelev’s cross from the right just evaded the stretching Spas Delev.
The hosts were off to a flying start to the second half, but they saw Bozhidar Kraev yellow carded in the 62nd minute for a late sliding challenge on Raphaël Varane. Georgi Kostadinov then followed him into the book five minutes later for fouling Djibril Sidibé.
Olivier Giroud picked up a booking in stoppage time, but it made no difference to the score. Bulgaria did cause some problems for the French defence, but they lacked the ruthlessness to find an equaliser and Les Bleus thus held on for a crucial win.
A win over Belarus on Tuesday evening would see them cement their spot at next year’s World Cup in Russia and give them a chance to repeat their 1998 heroics.