Didier Deschamps hailed a “beautiful” win for his France side after Kylian Mbappe inspired Les Bleus to an 8-0 thrashing of Kazakhstan.
Mbappe scored a first-half hat-trick at Parc des Princes, paving the way for Karim Benzema, Adrien Rabiot and Antoine Griezmann to get in on the act after the break.
The Paris Saint-Germain star rounded off the scoring as France booked their place at the Qatar World Cup in truly excellent fashion.
It was an emotional match on Saturday, with the game played six years to the day since the terrorist attacks that took place across Paris on November 13, 2015.
In total, 130 people were killed across separate incidents, with one target having been the Stade de France, which was at the time hosting a game between France and Germany.
With tributes paid before kick-off, Griezmann celebrated his goal by lifting up his jersey to show a shirt with “13/11/15” and a love heart.
— Antoine Griezmann (@AntoGriezmann) November 13, 2021
And on a significant day in France’s history, Deschamps believes France’s performance delivered.
“It is a very beautiful evening of football, even if we do not forget that it is a day of remembrance,” Deschamps told M6.
“The objective was to qualify, but in addition there is the manner [in which it is done] and the pleasure that the players have playing together, the understanding between them, especially the forwards.
“It is good, everyone had their piece of the pie. It’s a result that rewards everything we did well. We had the right tempo. The risk is always to relax a little but we continued.”
Star of the show Mbappe added: “The most important thing was qualifying. We wanted to give ourselves this chance to defend our title.
“Even for those who played and won it, it remains an unimaginable dream to play in a World Cup. We respected the game and the opponent, we wanted to hurt until the end.”
Mbappe is the first player to score four goals in a game for France since Just Fontaine in June 1958, against West Germany.
The 22-year-old also got an assist when he teed up Benzema’s second goal of the game – a strike that saw the latter overtake David Trezeguet as France’s fifth-top scorer (35).
“I am proud of it. Trezeguet, he is a legend and that makes me happy, but the most important thing is to participate in a victory,” said Benzema.
France have now qualified for a 14th consecutive major tournament, having not failed to do so since missing out on the 1994 World Cup.
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