France 4-0 Netherlands: Mbappé shines on captaincy debut
France and Belgium start Euro 2024 qualifying campaign in style
Mbappé scores twice as Lloris’ successors begin with statement win
Kylian Mbappé scored twice as France comfortably beat the Netherlands 4-0 in their opening Euro 2024 Group B qualifying campaign. Mbappé also put in an impressive performance as captain, setting up Antoine Griezmann’s opener and scoring the third and fourth goals himself. France dominated throughout, attacking from the off and taking a 2-0 lead within the opening eight minutes thanks to goals from Griezmann and Dayot Upamecano. The Netherlands were weakened by illness and the absence of captain Virgil van Dijk, and struggled to make an impact.
France set out to impress after World Cup final defeat against Argentina
France were clearly determined to make a statement following their narrow defeat against Argentina in the World Cup final in December, and started the game at great pace. Without recently retired goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and influential centre-back Raphael Varane, the squad were also aiming to prove their mettle without some of their most experienced players. Against a weakened Dutch side under a new manager, Ronald Koeman, France were able to shine.
Koeman’s Netherlands left with plenty to do after first qualifying match
Ronald Koeman was in charge of his first match as Netherlands manager since returning for his second stint after a first spell from 2018-2020. The team were weakened by a viral infection, with five players absent for the game. Despite their efforts, including a brief spell of threatening play in the first half, they ultimately had little chance against an impressive French side. The result will leave Koeman and his squad with plenty to consider as they prepare to face Gibraltar in their next match.
Belgium’s Lukaku scores hat-trick to win first qualifying game against Sweden
Elsewhere in Euro 2024 qualifying, Romelu Lukaku made his mark with a hat-trick in Belgium’s 3-0 win over Sweden in Group F. The result was the perfect response from new coach Domenico Tedesco, after Belgium’s disappointing group-stage exit at the World Cup in Qatar. The game also marked the long-awaited return of Zlatan Ibrahimović to international football for Sweden, though it was Lukaku who stole the show with three goals.