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France ease traumatic memories by crushing Bulgaria

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Football Soccer - France v Bulgaria - 2018 World Cup Qualifying European Zone - Group A - Stade de France, Saint-Denis near Paris, France - 7/10/16. France's Kevin Gameiro in action with Bulgaria's Aleksandar Aleksandrov. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
Football Soccer - France v Bulgaria - 2018 World Cup Qualifying European Zone - Group A - Stade de France, Saint-Denis near Paris, France - 7/10/16. France's Kevin Gameiro in action with Bulgaria's Aleksandar Aleksandrov. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

PARIS (Reuters) - France produced a scintillating show as they put memories of one of the most painful moments in their soccer history to one side by crushing Bulgaria 4-1 in a World Cup Group A qualifier on Friday.

Les Bleus had not hosted Bulgaria since an infamous qualifier in November 1993 when they conceded a late goal to lose 2-1, a defeat that meant they missed out on a place at the 1994 World Cup in the United States.

The home side trailed again at the Stade de France on Friday after conceding an early penalty but bounced back by taking control of the midfield and breaching a porous defence almost at will.

Goals from Kevin Gameiro, Dimitri Payet and Antoine Griezmann put them 3-1 up at the break.

Gameiro, stylishly celebrating his first international for five years, then completed the scoring with his second goal of the night in the 59th minute.

France, with four points from two games, are joint top of the group alongside Netherlands and Sweden. Bulgaria occupy fourth position on three points.

Euro 2016 runners-up France, who kicked off their Group A campaign with a dismal 0-0 draw in Belarus, next play Netherlands in Amsterdam on Monday.

Bulgaria, trying to qualify for the finals of a major event for the first time since the 2004 European Championship, go on to visit Sweden.

(Reporting by Patrick Vignal; Editing by Tony Jimenez)


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