2018 World Cup: Ronaldo, Lukaku Get Hat-tricks; France Maul Holland

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Cristiano Ronaldo netted a treble as Portugal all but secured their place in the top two with a 5-1 drubbing of Faroe Islands Thursday.

Ronaldo’s fifth international hat-trick took him past Brazil great Pele on 78 goals, with Sporting Lisbon’s William Carvalho and Norwich forward Nelson Oliveira completing the rout.

Hungary’s 3-1 win over Latvia keeps them in with a slim chance of deposing Portugal in second, as Switzerland cemented their place atop Group B with a 3-0 thrashing of Andorra.

France thrashed Holland 4-0 with the help of goals from Arsenal target Thomas Lemar, Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe as they maintain leadership of Group A and edged closer to qualification for next summer’s World Cup finals in Russia.


Arsenal target Lemar was on song for France. Image: Mirror

Lemar scored twice – the first a screamer from the edge of the box – on a day when Arsenal’s £92million bid for him broke down, while Mbappe rounded off an incredible day for him with Les Bleus’ fourth.

Mbappe had earlier completed a season-long loan move from Monaco to Paris St Germain on transfer deadline day with an obligation to sign a £166million deal next summer.

Bulgaria maintained their 100 per cent home record in the group after beating Sweden 3-2 in Sofia to move two points ahead of the Netherlands in third.

Belgium moved six points clear at the top of Group H as they crushed Gibraltar 9-0 despite playing 50 minutes with 10 men with Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku netting a hat-trick.

Greece played a disappointing goalless draw at home with Estonia to slip further behind the Belgians, while Cyprus came from behind to beat Bosnia Herzegovina 3-2, with Pieros Sotiriou netting the winner in the 76th minute.

Cyprus now sit just one point behind the third-placed Bosnians and only three behind the Greeks in the group.

Emmanuel Offor

An avid sports fan who is also hooked on movies, music and books. Basically, I PLAYpen & PUNCHlines

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