France won their first game since their World Cup final defeat in style, beating the Netherlands 4-0 at the Stade de France to kick off their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign with a bang.
Antoine Griezmann put France ahead early after he was teed up by the man chosen over him for the captaincy, Kylian Mbappe, before Dayot Upamecano doubled their advantage inside eight minutes after Jasper Cillessen made a mess of a free-kick.
Mbappe made it three before the halfway point of the first-half, before striking a fabulous second late on as Didier Deschamps’ men strolled to an opening win in Group B.
The Dutch had lost several players in the build-up to the game with a virus, but will have been made even sicker by the start to their qualifying campaign and Ronald Koeman’s second spell as head coach, with Memphis Depay seeing a late penalty saved to add insult to injury.
3 – France had not led by 3 goals so early in a game (20 minutes and 47 seconds) since 17 December 1953 against Luxembourg (10th minute, 8-0 at the end). Roadrunner. https://t.co/rxMGI3kOrb
— OptaJean (@OptaJean) March 24, 2023
After all the noise about the France captaincy, it was somewhat appropriate that Mbappe fed the ball inside to Griezmann to side-foot low and hard to Cillessen’s right to give the hosts a second-minute lead.
It was 2-0 soon after as Cillessen failed to deal with Griezmann’s free-kick from the right, with the ball ricocheting off Upamecano and rolling through the Dutch goalkeeper’s legs into the net.
Mbappe had his first goal as captain in the 21st minute when he played the ball to Aurelien Tchouameni on the halfway line, before racing towards to the left-side of the penalty area to get onto the Real Madrid midfielder’s return pass – dummied by Randal Kolo Muani – before finishing calmly.
Koeman took action by introducing Manchester United loanee Wout Weghorst for Kenneth Taylor after just 33 minutes, and the Netherlands were at least able to avoid further damage despite never really testing Mike Maignan in the French goal.
That was until Depay’s sloppy pass backwards found Mbappe, who teased Jurrien Timber and Daley Blind before firing across Cillessen to make it 4-0 in the 88th minute, while Depay saw his stoppage-time penalty saved by Maignan to wrap up a miserable game for the Dutch.
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