Mbappe inspires France to Euro 2024 qualification with stellar double

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Kylian Mbappe spearheaded France to an early qualification for Euro 2024 with a scintillating double against an injury-plagued Netherlands side, securing a 2-1 away win on Friday. 

The World Cup runners-up, alongside Portugal and Belgium, became the first three teams to book their spots in the tournament, maintaining a perfect record in Group B with six consecutive victories.

Portugal replicated France’s success by winning all their Group J matches, where Goncalo Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo’s brace helped them edge out Slovakia 3-2. Belgium clinched their Euro 2024 qualification in Group F with a thrilling 3-2 triumph over Austria, a victory that could have also guaranteed Austria a spot in the competition.

At the Johan Cruijff Arena, France dominated for the majority of the game, despite goalkeeper Mike Maignan’s occasional blunders that could have cost them dearly. 

Kylian Mbappe, who briefly left the training camp earlier in the week for personal reasons, made a triumphant return. He netted a volley in the seventh minute from Jonathan Clauss’s pinpoint cross, ending his four-game competitive goal drought.

France coach Didier Deschamps expressed his confidence in Mbappe, stating, “He showed today there was nothing to worry about. When he’s like this, obviously France has more chances to win.”

Mbappe continued his stunning performance, scoring his second goal eight minutes into the second half. A deft layoff from Adrien Rabiot allowed him to curl a sublime shot into the far top corner, marking his 42nd international goal and moving him into fourth place on France’s all-time top scorers list.

The Netherlands managed to reduce the deficit with Quilindschy Hartman’s goal in the 83rd minute, marking the first goal France conceded in the qualifying campaign. Midfielder Adrien Rabiot acknowledged the imperfection, saying, “We’re aiming for perfection.”

Greece boosted their qualifying hopes with a 2-0 win against Ireland, securing second place in the group with 12 points, three ahead of the injury-plagued Netherlands, who still have a game in hand.

France, who have not missed a European Championship since 1988, will face Scotland in a friendly next week, while the Netherlands head to Greece for their next qualifier on Monday.

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