2018 World Cup Qualifying - UEFA, Group Stage
  • Kevin Gameiro (23', 59')
  • Dimitri Payet (26')
  • Antoine Griezmann (38')
  • Mihail Aleksandrov (6' PEN)

Kevin Gameiro double powers France to defeat of Bulgaria

Kevin Gameiro struck twice as France came from behind to run out convincing 4-1 winners over Bulgaria in their World Cup qualifier in Paris.

Dimitri Payet -- with a cross -- and Antoine Griezmann also got on the scoresheet as France hit back after Mihail Alexandrov's early penalty at the Stade de France.

The victory was France's first of the campaign after they were held in their Group A opener in Belarus last month, and it put them in good heart for Monday's trip to Holland.

Bulgaria claimed a surprise early lead after Georgi Milanov wrong-footed Bacary Sagna in the box and was clipped by the Manchester City defender to earn a penalty. Alexandrov struck from the spot.

France responded well and pulled level after 23 minutes as Sagna atoned for his earlier error by curling in a superb cross for Gameiro to score with a firm glancing header.

Another quickly followed when what seemed like a cross from the tricky Payet was not touched by the head of the diving Griezmann and bounced straight into the net.

The hosts were denied a penalty after Djibril Sidibe, who replaced an injured Sagna after 27 minutes, went down under a Zhivko Milanov challenge, but they still claimed a third before the break.

Dimitar Pirgov gifted Griezmann the opportunity with a poor ball across his error and the Atletico Madrid forward seized the chance, taking a touch to steady himself and then shooting low into the bottom corner.

France went in search of more after the break and went close when Laurent Koscielny headed wide.

Their fourth, and Gameiro's second, came just before the hour. Layvin Kurzawa was heavily involved in the move with some great work on the left before finding Griezmann, whose ball across goal then presented his strike partner with a simple finish.

There was to be no hat trick as Gameiro was replaced after 72 minutes but France continued to press with Moussa Sissoko shooting at Vladislav Stoyanov and Blaise Matuidi hitting the outside of the post.