World Cup Qualifying Roundup: Lukaku Puts Belgium Through, France Limp to Draw vs Luxembourg & More
The international break can be a drag for some football fans, especially when it comes just three games into a new season. However a host of goals and a few surprise scorelines can help quench football fans' thirst for excitement.
The World Cup qualifying games haven't failed to deliver in this department so far and Sunday night was no different, with Netherlands vs Bulgaria the pick of the day's games.
After a disappointing display against France earlier in the week, which saw the Dutch thumped 4-0, Holland needed to bounce back in Friday's game against Bulgaria to restore fans' belief, as well as Dick Advocaat's side's chances of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.
Luckily for the Dutch they ran out 3-1 winners on the night. However much of the credit for the commanding victory should go to a certain Brighton new boy. Brighton's new £12m signing from PSV, Davy Propper, scored a brace on the night to help his side earn all three points.
It took Propper, making only his seventh senior start for the Oranje, just seven minutes to make his mark on the game as he scored Holland's first, as he tapped home an accurately drilled Daley Blind cross.
Captain Arjen Robben doubled the Netherlands' advantage after the break after a well worked move, which again ended in a Daley Blind cross being prodded home at close range by the 33-year-old.
Bulgaria, who earned a surprise victory over then table topping Sweden earlier in the week, pulled one back via Georgi Kostadinov in the 69th minute. However Propper earned his second goal of the game ten minutes later, brilliantly guiding a header past the Bulgarian goalkeeper following a fantastic Quincy Promes cross.
That goal would seal the victory for the Netherlands and keeps alive their hopes of qualifying, as they now sit third in the group just three points behind second place Sweden.
Elsewhere in the group Sweden thrashed Belarus 0-4 away from home, while France suffered a shock 0-0 draw at home to a resilient Luxembourg side, despite putting out a very strong first eleven.
In group B table-topping Switzerland brushed aside Latvia 0-3 away from home while elsewhere, Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal earned an important 0-1 away victory over Hungary to all-but confirm Portugal and Switzerland as the top two heading out of group B. The Faroe Islands also managed a 1-0 victory over Andorra in the same group.
In group H, Belgium became the first team to secure their World Cup place through European qualifying after beating Greece 1-2 thanks to goals from Jan Vertongen and Romelu Lukaku. Estonia and Bosnia also earned victories with respective scorelines of 1-0 and 0-4, over Cyprus and Gibraltar.
The day's early match saw Croatia beat Kosovo 1-0 in a game which ran over two days. The game was supposed to be played on Saturday, but heavy rain in Zagreb stopped play midway through the first half. In a strange turn of events the game was restarted today on the 22nd minute with Croatia eventually triumphing to regain their place at the top of group I.
Monday night's fixture list includes England taking on Slovakia, where a win would see Gareth Southgate's side all but confirmed a top two finish. Germany, Northern Ireland and Scotland are also all in action.
Full Results Table