France, Russia and Portugal posted crucial first-leg victories in their UEFA World Cup qualifying playoff matches, but all three still have plenty of work to do in the second legs to ensure qualifying for South Africa.
Nicolas Anelka scored in France's 1-0 win vs. Ireland in Dublin, giving the French the lead and an away goal in its match-up. The Irish must now beat France on Wednesday in France. A 1-0 win would force overtime, while any other victory would send Ireland through.
Russia disposed of Slovenia, 2-1, but Slovenia's 88th minute goal could prove costly to Guus Hiddink's men as they head to Slovenia for Wednesday's return leg.
Portugal held serve at home, posting a 1-0 victory against Bosnia-Herzegovina courtesy of a Bruno Alves goal. Bosnia will now need to beat Portugal by a 1-0 margin in the return leg to force overtime, or must win by two goals to advance.
Greece saw its chances for reaching the World Cup take a hit after being held scoreless by Ukraine in Greece. Now the Ukrainians can advance with a win at home on Wednesday, while a score draw or road victory would send the Greeks through.
What did you think of Saturday's UEFA World Cup playoff matches? Impressed with France's performance? Think Portugal will hold on? Surprised Russia only beat Slovenia by a goal?
Share your thoughts below.