13 Oct Mbappe stars as France seal early Euro 2024 ticket along with Portugal, Belgium
Kylian Mbappe led the charge as France secured an early qualification for Euro 2024 with an impressive 2-1 victory against an injury-stricken Netherlands squad.
The victory, which cements France’s status as one of the first three teams to secure their places in the upcoming tournament, reflects their unwavering dominance in Group B with six consecutive wins.
France’s journey to Euro 2024 was punctuated by a mesmerising performance by Mbappe, whose brace silenced critics and reignited his scoring form.
Portugal and Belgium joined France in the exclusive club of Euro 2024 qualifiers with their own remarkable victories, solidifying their presence on the grand European stage.
In the tumultuous Group J, Portugal showcased their power by triumphing in all their matches, as Goncalo Ramos and the ever-prolific Cristiano Ronaldo orchestrated a thrilling 3-2 win over Slovakia. The Portuguese side’s relentless commitment to success has earned them a well-deserved ticket to Euro 2024.
Belgium, on the other hand, wrote their Euro 2024 saga with a dramatic 3-2 win against Austria in Group F. Dodi Lukebakio delivered a sensational performance with two goals, and Romelu Lukaku sealed the deal in the second half. Belgium’s triumph was a double-edged sword, ensuring their qualification while also dashing Austria’s hopes of securing their own place.
At the illustrious Johan Cruijff Arena, France dominated proceedings for the majority of the game, even though goalkeeper Mike Maignan’s rare lapses could have proved costly. It was Mbappe, who briefly left the training camp earlier in the week for personal reasons, who emerged as the hero. In the seventh minute, he volleyed home a brilliant goal, courtesy of Jonathan Clauss’s pinpoint cross, ending a frustrating four-game competitive goal drought.
France’s coach, Didier Deschamps, offered reassuring words for Mbappe, declaring, “He showed today there was nothing to worry about. When he’s in this form, France has a greater chance of victory.”
The 24-year-old forward further showcased his brilliance, adding another goal eight minutes into the second half. A clever assist from Adrien Rabiot set the stage for Mbappe to curl a sublime shot into the top corner from the edge of the box, tallying his 42nd international goal and surpassing the legendary Michel Platini to claim the fourth spot on France’s all-time top scorers list.
The Netherlands, plagued by a lengthy list of injuries that sidelined key players, managed to break France’s defense with Quilindschy Hartman’s 83rd-minute goal. This was the first goal France conceded in their qualifying campaign, and it left midfielder Adrien Rabiot acknowledging, “We’re aiming for perfection.”
Greece bolstered their qualifying hopes by securing a 2-0 victory against Ireland, taking second place in the group with 12 points, a lead of three points over the Netherlands, who still have a game in hand.
As Euro 2024 rapidly approaches, France, a team with an unbroken European Championship record since 1988, prepares for a friendly clash with Scotland, while the Netherlands head to Greece for their next qualifier on Monday.