September 4, 2017 / 5:52 AM / a year ago

Sweden cruise to easy 4-0 win over Belarus

(Reuters) - Sweden cruised to an easy 4-0 away win over Belarus in their World Cup qualifier in Group A on Sunday to narrow the gap at the top to one point behind leaders France.

Soccer Football - 2018 World Cup Qualifications - Europe - Belarus vs Sweden - Borisov, Belarus - September 3, 2017 Sweden’s Andreas Granqvist scores their fourth goal from a penalty REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

Sweden, having suffered a shock 3-2 defeat by Bulgaria on Thursday, took an early lead when Emil Forsberg collected a long diagonal pass and rounded the keeper to score.

Six minutes later Belarus defender Mikhail Sivakov tried to dribble his way out of trouble but was robbed of the ball by Christoffer Nyman, who fired home to make it 2-0.

Sweden added a third before halftime, Forsberg turning provider after collecting another long ball and sliding it into the path of the onrushing Marcus Berg, who had the simple task of slotting the ball into an empty net.

Belarus started the second half brightly but could not find a way though the Swedish defence and captain Andreas Granqvist slammed home a second-half penalty for the Swedes to round off the scoring in the 84th minute.

The victory left the Swedes on 16 points behind France, who were held to a 0-0 draw by Luxembourg on Sunday. In June, Sweden defeated the French 2-1 in Stockholm with a stunning late goal from Ola Toivonen.

Netherlands beat Bulgaria 3-1 at home on Sunday to leapfrog their opponents into third place on 13 points, three behind the Swedes with two qualifying games left to play, and the two sides set to meet in their final qualifier on Oct. 10.

Reporting by Philip O'Connor in Stockholm; Editing by Clare Fallon and Ken Ferris

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