SPORTS


Netherlands in danger after loss as Ronaldo lifts Portugal, France win

Baku, March 26, AZERTAC

Netherlands are in danger of failing to qualify for a second straight major tournament after losing 2-0 to Bulgaria in a World Cup qualifier on Saturday, according to ESPN FC.

After finishing third at the 2014 World Cup, the Dutch missed out on Euro 2016 and now find themselves in fourth place midway through their campaign to reach Russia, six points off the lead in Group A and three back of a potential playoff spot.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice and Andre Silva added another as Portugal tightened their grip on second place in Group B with a 3-0 thrashing of Hungary.

The victory gives the Euro 2016 champions 12 points from five matches, three behind first-placed Switzerland, who earned a 1-0 win at home over Latvia.

Meanwhile, Andorra earned their first point of the campaign by holding Faroe Islands to a goalless draw.

The result ended Andorra's run of 58 competitive defeats stretching back more than 11 years.

Olivier Giroud scored twice as France stayed on top of Netherlands' Group A with a 3-1 win away to Luxembourg.

Earlier, Emil Forsberg scored twice to help Sweden to a 4-0 romp over Belarus.

The comfortable win put Sweden second in Group A, three back of leaders France, and one ahead of Bulgaria and three above Netherlands.

In Group H, Romelu Lukaku scored late to salvage a 1-1 draw for leaders Belgium at home against 10-man Greece.

Belgium maintained a two-point lead over Greece, while Bosnia and Herzegovina moved to within three points of the top with a 5-0 win over minnows Gibraltar thanks to a Vedad Ibisevic brace.

Also in Group H, hosts Cyprus were held to a goalless draw by Estonia in a result that leaves both nations on four points, above only Gibraltar.

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