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Netherlands cruise past Bulgaria to keep World Cup hopes alive


Davy Propper’s double propelled Netherlands past Bulgaria 3-1 at Amsterdam ArenA to keep the Oranje’s hope of making the 2018 World Cup alive.

The win and the three points put Dick Advocaat’s men to just four points behind Group A leader France and three behind second-placed Sweden.

Netherlands will visit bottom dwellers Belarus in next month’s international break and will end the qualifying campaign by hosting Sweden in Amsterdam three days later.

Propper, one of three players Advocaat brought in after the heavy defeat to France, proved he deserved the cap when he quickly ran to recover Daley Blind’s slightly wayward cross and drove the ball home for the opener just seven minutes after kickoff.

The visitors almost answered right away when a Strahil Popov cross found Georgi Kostadinov but the Maccabi Haifa midfielder’s header was inches too high and hit Jasper Cillessen’s post.

Netherlands doubled their advantage an hour after the opener, when Arjen Robben met Blind’s cross and slotted the ball home for his 34th goal for the Oranje.

Propper completed his brace 10 minutes from time, as the Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder maximized his wide space to nod home Quincy Promes’ wonderfully located set-up.

Bulgaria, who are five points below France and are four behind Sweden, will host France next month’s international break and will finish the campaign with a visit to Luxembourg.