October 7, 2017 / 8:47 PM / in a year

Soccer-Matuidi puts France in control of their World Cup destiny

SOFIA, Oct 7 (Reuters) - Blaise Matuidi’s early goal was enough for France to secure a top-two finish in their European World Cup qualifying group with a 1-0 away win against Bulgaria on Saturday.

Les Bleus top Group A with 20 points, one ahead of Sweden who crushed Luxembourg 8-0, and they will qualify directly for next year’s World Cup in Russia if they beat Belarus at home in their final game on Tuesday.

The best eight second-placed teams go through a two-legged playoff.

Matuidi struck after three minutes with a fine angled shot and Bulgaria had their best chance denied by Hugo Lloris before halftime.

Didier Deschamps’s 42nd victory since he took over from Laurent Blanc in 2012 makes him the most successful France coach in terms of number of wins. (Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Neville Dalton)

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