France smash record win in Euro qualifiers

Kylian Mbappe scored a hat-trick in France’s record-breaking 14-0 thrashing of 10-man Gibraltar as the Netherlands, Switzerland and Romania booked their places at Euro 2024 on Saturday.
Les Bleus set a new record margin of victory in European qualifying and a national record in a demolition of Gibraltar in Nice.
Ethan Santos’ own goal, Marcus Thuram and 17-year-old Warren Zaire-Emery on his international debut had already put France in command before Santos’ red card on 18 minutes allowed Didier Deschamps’ men to run amok.
Mbappe’s penalty made it 4-0 and Jonathan Clauss, Kingsley Coman and Youssouf Fofana all scored before halftime.
Adrien Rabiot, Coman again and Ousmane Dembele kept the score ticking over before Mbappe struck twice to seal his hat-trick.
Olivier Giroud then came off the bench to grab the final two goals and ensure the history books were rewritten.
But the scoreline will raise fresh questions over the need for such clashes between giants and minnows in a congested fixture calendar.
• Just one goal was enough to ensure the Dutch joined France in qualifying from group B with a 1-0 victory over the Republic of Ireland.
Wout Weghorst’s powerful drive separated the sides in Amsterdam in what is likely to be Irish boss Stephen Kenny’s final competitive game in charge.
• Romania reached just a second major tournament since 2008 by ending Israel’s chances of automatic qualification with a 2-1 win.
Despite being forced to play what should have been a home fixture in Hungary due to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, Israel went in front after just two minutes through Eran Zahavi.
But Romania hit back quickly to level through George Puscas and secured their place in Germany thanks to Ianis Hagi, son of Gheorghe Hagi who inspired the Romanians’ famous run to the 1994 World Cup quarterfinals.
• Switzerland also qualified despite being held 1-1 at home by Kosovo.
• Wales’ hopes of reaching a third consecutive European Championship were dealt a huge blow by a 1-1 draw away to Armenia.
– SuperSport/AFP