Solna (Sweden) (AFP) – Sweden laid down the gauntlet to France in European World Cup qualifying as Marcus Berg scored four goals in an 8-0 thrashing of Luxembourg on Saturday.
The Swedes now lead France, who face Bulgaria later on Saturday, by two points in the race for top spot in Group A.
Al Ain forward Berg tore Luxembourg apart in Solna as the visitors were brought back down to earth after their 0-0 draw in France last month.
After Andreas Granqvist had broken the deadlock with a 10th-minute penalty, the 31-year-old Berg grabbed his first eight minutes later.
He wasn’t finished there and completed a hat-trick with goals either side of half-time by heading in a rebound after his initial shot was saved, and curling home an excellent individual effort.
Celtic defender Mikael Lustig made it five, before another Granqvist spot-kick and Berg’s fourth.
Berg was taken off with 16 minutes to play, but that didn’t spare Luxembourg more embarrassment, as Ola Toivonen completed the rout.
Elsewhere, Bosnia and Herzegovina saw their play-off hopes in Group H take a hit with a stunning 4-3 home defeat by already-qualified Belgium.
Goals from Haris Medunjanin and Edin Visca put the Bosnians ahead after Belgium full-back Thomas Muenier’s early strike, but Michy Batshuayi and Yannick Carrasco turned things around.
Dario Dumic’s 82nd-minute equaliser looked to have salvaged the hosts a priceless point, but Carrasco struck again to leave the race for second wide open, with Greece and Cyprus playing each other later in Nicosia hoping to take advantage.
Estonia thrashed Gibraltar 6-0 to give themselves a mathematical chance of taking second, but trail Bosnia by 15 goals on goal difference with only one match to go.
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