It didn’t take long for Cristiano Ronaldo to give Portugal the boost it needed in European qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.
Ronaldo made his presence felt early against Andorra with goals in the second and fourth minutes, then added two others in the second half to lead the hosts to 6-0.
He also caused both red cards to Andorra players in the final part of the game in the western Portuguese city of Aveiro.
“We knew the first goal was important because they play with 11 men behind the ball,” Ronaldo said. “We got off to a good start and it was positive because we wanted to win again.”
Switzerland secures lead in Group B
The victory left Portugal three points behind Switzerland, which twice relinquished leads but held on after Valentin Stocker’s 89th-minute goal in Budapest, earning its second win in a row and securing the lead in Group B.
Haris Seferovic opened the scoring for the Swiss in the 51st, but the hosts equalized with Adam Szalai just two minutes later. Ricardo Rodriguez put Switzerland ahead again in the 67th, and Hungary evened the match one more time four minutes later.
Hungary had been held by the Faroe Islands to a scoreless draw in their opener, while Switzerland beat Portugal.
France, Sweden, Netherlands all level
France, Sweden and the Netherlands earned their first victories and are level on points in Group A after two games.
France trailed Bulgaria after conceding an early penalty kick but recovered to earn a comfortable win with two goals by Gameiro, one by Dimitri Payet, and another by Antoine Griezmann.
“I’m 29 years old now, I’m more experienced, and I understand that there are times when one needs to perform. I did it tonight,” Gameiro said.
The Netherlands defeated Belarus 4-1 as Quincy Promes scored his first two international goals and Vincent Janssen and Davy Klaassen netted one each in Rotterdam.
Sweden remained unbeaten after defender Mikael Lustig scored the winner at Luxembourg with a half-volley from Marcus Berg’s corner in the second half.
Bosnia and Estonia, which beat Gibraltar 4-0 at home with two goals by Mattias Kait, have three points each.
Belgium, Greece win again
Belgium and Greece won again to take control of Group H, with the Belgians routing Bosnia 4-0 at home and Greece topping Cyprus 2-0.
The Belgians got two goals in each half to get past a Bosnian team that started its campaign with a 5-0 win over Estonia.
“We played with intensity that denied the Bosnians possession even when they tried to change up their game,” Belgium coach Roberto Martinez said.
Greece defeated a hard-working Cyprus to continue its recovery under new coach Michael Skibbe.
Kostas Mitroglou needed one touch to find the net early, and Petros Mantalos added the second goal just before the break.
“We expected this to be a tricky match and it was,” Skibbe said. “We scored good goals but at times lacked composure. That’s something we need to work on. But we’re improving with every game and with every win.”
- France 4-1 Bulgaria
- Luxembourg 0-1 Sweden
- Netherlands 4-1 Belarus
- Portugal 4-0 Andorra
- Latvia 6-0 Faroe Islands
- Hungary 2-3 Switzerland
- Greece 2-0 Cyprus
- Belgium 4-0 Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Estonia 4-0 Gibraltar
- Ghana 0-0 Uganda