Mbappé leads France to opening win over the Netherlands

<span>Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images</span>” src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3Ng–/ datarca” “–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3Ng–/”/></div>
<p><figcaption class=Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

Those of Kylian Mbappé France the captaincy could hardly have started better when the World Cup finalists were sidelined The Netherlands in their qualification for Euro 2024, winning 4-0 at the Stade de France, with three goals in the first 21 minutes.

The first goal came after two minutes when Antoine Griezmann, who was said to be upset at having gone over the armband, was pushed by Mbappé. Sporting a lurid pink hairdo, Griezmann celebrated with his new captain to apparently indicate there are no hard feelings on the subject.

Bayern Munich centre-back Dayot Upamecano added a second from close range before Mbappé scored himself in the 21st minute, sweeping away a through ball from Aurélien Tchouaméni.

Mbappé saved the best for last with a sublime second for himself on the night, firing low from the edge of the box after a series of feints and dummies left the Dutch defense baffled.

The other star of the night in Friday’s opening Euro qualifiers was Romelu Lukaku, who scored a hat-trick in from Belgium impressive 3-0 away win Sweden.

The win at Friends Arena gave new Belgium coach Domenico Tedesco the perfect start as his team looks to bounce back after a disappointing World Cup group stage exit in Qatar, but Janne’s Sweden Andersson did not pose a threat.

Lukaku opened the scoring on 35 minutes, beating Hjalmar Ekdal to head in a cross from the left by Dodi Lukebakio, who had plagued the Swedish defense since kick-off.

Antoine Griezmann, sporting a new hairstyle, celebrates his goal with Kylian Mbappé

Antoine Griezmann, sporting a new hairstyle, celebrates his goal with Kylian Mbappé. Photo: Xavier Laine/Getty Images

The Belgian striker then took advantage of a weaker mark to double his team’s lead early in the second half when Lukebakio scored again with a low cross from close range.

Lukaku’s goal-scoring exploits overshadowed the long-awaited return of Zlatan Ibrahimovic to international football in the first Group F qualifier for Euro 2024. Ibrahimovic’s introduction in the 73rd minute after a lengthy absence through injury caused a deafening roar from the crowd. At 41 years, five months and 21 days, Ibrahimovic breaks the record held by Italian goalkeeper Dino Zoff since 1983 as the oldest man to play in a Euro Cup qualifier.

Lukaku capped off the match when the home defense suffered another collective collapse, leaving him with another touch to complete his hat-trick and an easy win for the visitors.

Elsewhere, midfielder on loan from Manchester United Marcel Sabitzer scored twice for Austria as they secured a comfortable 4-1 home win over Azerbaijan in their first Group F qualifying match.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic applauds fans after his record-breaking appearance for Sweden

Zlatan Ibrahimovic applauds the fans after his record-breaking appearance for Sweden. Photograph: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images

Sabitzer collected a pass from Christoph Baumgartner in the box and struck the ball into the back of the net for the opener just before the half-hour mark. Austria doubled their lead a minute later when Michael Gregoritsch scored, before Sabitzer fired a wonderful free kick into the corner of the net early in the second half.

Azerbaijan pulled one goal back when Emin Makhmudov’s shot from a tight angle briefly threatened a comeback, but Baumgartner got the goal his fine performance deserved to restore the hosts to a three-goal lead.

Aleksandar Mitrovic, who faces a lengthy national ban for shoving referee Chris Kavanagh in Fulham’s FA Cup loss to Manchester United last Sunday, was chosen to start for Serbian in his qualifier with Lithuania. Goals from Dusan Tadic and Dusan Vlahovic gave the Serbs a 2-0 win.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *