Kylian Mbappe scored the final goal as France
cruised to a 4-0 win over 10-man Netherlands
in a key 2018 World Cup qualifier on Thursday,
while Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick propelled
Portugal to victory elsewhere.
Antoine Griezmann put the home side ahead
inside 14 minutes at the Stade de France before
Kevin Strootman’s sending-off led to the Dutch
being overwhelmed in the final half hour.
Thomas Lemar scored twice, the first from a
stunning volley, and Mbappe capped an already
memorable day on a personal level by netting
his first international goal at the death.
A far superior French side are firmly back on
track in their quest to make it to Russia next
year after their shock 2-1 defeat in Sweden in
June. This result, coupled with Sweden’s 3-2
defeat in Bulgaria, leaves Les Bleus three points
clear at the top of qualifying Group A.
Meanwhile, after failing to make it to the 24-
team Euro on French soil last year, the
Netherlands are in a battle even to finish
second and grab a place in the two-legged play-
offs in November.
Dick Advocaat’s side are fourth, three points
behind second-placed Sweden with three
qualifiers remaining, including a meeting with
the Swedes in Amsterdam in October.
France should top the section and coach Didier
Deschamps has enough quality at his disposal
for his team to be genuine contenders to win
the World Cup.
At a packed Stade de France he left Mbappe on
the bench at the start as the 18-year-old’s loan
move from Monaco to Paris Saint-Germain was
made official little over an hour prior to kick-
New Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele had
not even been named in the squad, while
Bayern Munich’s Kingsley Coman won his first
cap since the Euro 2016 final loss to Portugal at
the same ground.
France were outstanding, opening the scoring
when Djibril Sidibe found Griezmann and the
Atletico Madrid forward played a one-two with
Olivier Giroud before running into the box and
finishing through the legs of Dutch goalkeeper