France smash record in 14-0 win as Dutch, Swiss and Romania qualify

Kylian Mbappe scored a hat-trick in France’s 14-0 win over 10-man Gibraltar as the Netherlands, Switzerland and Romania booked their places at Euro 2024 on Saturday. Les Bleus set a new margin of victory in European qualification and a national record in Nice. Ethan Santos’ own goal and Marcus Thuram had already opened the floodgates before 17-year-old Warren Sáir-Emery scored. That was Záir-Emery’s last contribution when the PSG midfielder was forced off with an ankle injury, but a red card for Santos after 18 minutes left the World Cup finalists in danger of losing.

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Mbappe’s penalty made it 4-0 and Jonathan Clauss, Kingsley Coman and Youssouf Fofana scored before half-time. Adrien Rabiot, Coman and Ousmane Dembele kept the score ticking again before Mbappe struck twice to seal his hat-trick in style. The France captain lobbed Dayle Coleing just inside the Gibraltar half to register his 300th career goal aged just 24. Olivier Giroud then came off the bench to score the final two goals and ensure the history books were rewritten.

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But the scoreline will raise fresh questions about the need for such clashes between giants and minors in a crowded fixture calendar. “We did everything to get this score. That’s the ambition in this team,” said France boss Didier Deschamps.

Just one goal was enough to ensure the Dutch joined France as they qualified from Group B with a 1-0 win over the Republic of Ireland. Wout Weghorst’s powerful campaign separated the teams in Amsterdam in a game likely to be dominated by Ireland boss Stephen Kenny. “In the end, it’s about winning the game. We knew we needed the three points to qualify directly today, at home with our own fans,” said Dutch player Cody Gakpo. “We created a lot of chances, opportunities, but we need to score more goals and have more finesse in the final third.”

Despite being forced to play a home game in Hungary due to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, Israel took the lead after two minutes through Eran Zahavi. But Romania quickly hit back to level through George Puscas and took their place in Germany thanks to Ianis Hagi, the son of Gheorghe Hagi who inspired the Romanians to a run to the quarter-finals of the 1994 World Cup. Switzerland also qualified despite being held 1-1 at home by Kosovo.

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