Mbappe Guides France to Euro 2024 Despite Netherlands' Injuries
Kylian Mbappe of France, left Joey Veerman of Netherlands in action during the UEFA EURO 2024 European qualifier match between Netherlands and France at Johan Cruijff Arena on October 13, 2023 in Amsterdam, Netherlands(Image-Getty)
In a thrilling display of talent, France's Kylian Mbappe shone brightly, securing a pivotal double that propelled his team to a 2-1 victory over a Netherlands side plagued by injuries, ensuring their early qualification for Euro 2024 on Friday.
Joining Portugal and Belgium as the first three teams to secure their place in the tournament, the World Cup runners-up maintained an impeccable record in Group B, triumphing in all six encounters.
In another engaging match, Portugal continued their winning streak in Group J, clinching a 3-2 home victory against Slovakia with goals from Goncalo Ramos and a remarkable brace by Cristiano Ronaldo.
Meanwhile, Belgium secured their spot in Group F with a hard-fought 3-2 win over Austria, who themselves would have qualified with a victory. Dodi Lukebakio's brace, complemented by a goal from Romelu Lukaku after the break, sealed the crucial win for the Belgian side.
At the Johan Cruijff Arena, Mbappe, who recently took a brief hiatus from the team for personal reasons, swiftly announced his return to form, volleying in a goal in the seventh minute from Jonathan Clauss's precise cross. Demonstrating his skill and determination, he further extended the lead eight minutes into the second half with a breathtaking curling shot into the top corner, marking his 42nd international goal and surpassing France legend Michel Platini in the all-time top scorers list.
Despite the French dominance, the Netherlands managed to break their defense with a late strike from Quilindschy Hartman in the 83rd minute, becoming the first team to breach France's defense in the qualifying campaign. While the victory brought joy, midfielder Adrien Rabiot highlighted the team's pursuit of perfection, acknowledging the need to minimize such setbacks in the future.
Elsewhere, Greece boosted their qualifying hopes with a resolute 2-0 win over Ireland, securing second place in the group with 12 points, three ahead of the injury-stricken Netherlands, who have a game in hand. Looking ahead, France is scheduled to face Scotland in a friendly, while the Netherlands are set to travel to Greece for their upcoming qualifier.