Kylian Mbappe on Saturday scored a hat-trick in France’s record-breaking 14-0 thrashing of 10-man Gibraltar as the Netherlands, Switzerland and Romania booked their places at UEFA Euro 2024.
Les Bleus set a new record margin of victory in European qualifying and a national record in Nice, France.
Ethan Santos’ own-goal and Marcus Thuram had already opened the floodgates before 17-year-old Warren Zaire-Emery scored.
That was Zaire-Emery’s last contribution as the Paris Saint-Germain midfielder was forced off with an ankle injury, but a red card for Santos after just 18 minutes allowed the FIFA World Cup finalists to run amok.
Mbappe’s penalty made it 4-0 and Jonathan Clauss, Kingsley Coman and Youssouf Fofana all scored before halftime.
Adrien Rabiot, Coman again and Ousmane Dembele kept the score ticking over before Mbappe struck twice to seal his hat-trick in style.
The France captain lobbed Dayle Coleing from just inside the Gibraltar half to register his 300th career goal at the age of just 24.
Olivier Giroud then came off the bench to grab the final two goals and ensure that the history books were rewritten.
However, the scoreline is likely to raise fresh questions over the need for such clashes between giants and minnows in a congested fixture calendar.
“We did everything to make this score happen. That is the ambition that there is in this team,” France manager Didier Deschamps said.
Just one goal was enough to ensure the Dutch joined France in qualifying from Group B with a 1-0 victory over the Republic of Ireland.
Wout Weghorst’s powerful drive separated the sides in Amsterdam in what is likely to be Irish boss Satephen Kenny’s final competitive game in charge.
“In the end, it’s about winning the game. We knew we needed the three points to qualify directly today, at home with our own fans,” Netherlands forward Cody Gakpo said.
“We created a lot of chances, opportunities, but we have to score more goals and have more finesse in the final third,” Gakpo said.
Romania reached just a second major tournament since 2008 by ending Israel’s chances of automatic qualification with a 2-1 win.
Despite being forced to play what should have been a home fixture in Hungary due to the war between Israel and Hamas, Israel went in front after just two minutes through Eran Zahavi.
However, Romania hit back quickly to level through George Puscas and secured their place in Germany thanks to Ianis Hagi, son of Gheorghe Hagi who inspired the Romanians famous run to the 1994 World Cup quarter-finals.
Switzerland also qualified despite being held 1-1 at home by Kosovo.
Romania are now in pole position to win Group I with a draw at home to Switzerland tomorrow enough to secure top spot.
Wales’ hopes of reaching a third consecutive European Championship were dealt a huge blow by a 1-1 draw away to Armenia.
Manager Rob Page’s men began the day with automatic qualification in their own hands, but Wales fell behind early on to Lucas Zelarayan’s strike from outside the box in Yerevan.
Nair Tiknizyan’s own-goal brought the visitors level before halftime, but Wales failed to find a winner, and that leaves them needing Croatia to slip up.
Last year’s World Cup semi-finalists moved into second place in Group D thanks to a 2-0 win in Latvia as Lovro Majer and Andrej Kramaric struck inside the first 16 minutes.
Wales must beat already-qualified Turkey in Cardiff tomorrow and hope Croatia fail to beat Armenia at home.
BASEBALL LEGEND: Sadaharu Oh, who flew against his doctor’s advice to throw the first pitch at the Taipei Dome, said he had high expectations for baseball in Taiwan Taiwan yesterday defeated South Korea 4-0 in the opening game of the Asian Baseball Championship in front of a crowd of more than 16,000 at the newly opened Taipei Dome. The team was led by a starting pitcher Hsu Ruo-hsi, who in a dominant performance recroded 10 strikeouts and allowed only two hits in seven scoreless innings on the mound. Eighteen-year-old Sun I-lei came to close out the final two innings, ensuring that Taiwan hung on to their four-run lead, after scoring three runs in the third inning and another in the fourth. The eight-day championship is to take place
NIGHT OF FIRSTS: In the first official game at the Tapei Dome on Sunday, not only did Taiwan notch a win over South Korea, they also recorded the stadium’s first hit and RBI The Philippines yesterday dominated Thailand 14-4 at the Taipei Dome in the opening game of Group B on the second day of the Asian Baseball Championship, while Palestine pipped Hong Kong 3-1 in Taichung in Group A. World No. 35 the Philippines put themselves on the board early, racking up two runs in the first inning, followed by two in the third, one each in the fourth and fifth, and three in the sixth. Thailand, ranked 43rd in the world, did not get on the board until the top of the seventh inning, when they tried to stage a comeback, putting up
TROUNCED: Taiwan beat Palestine in six innnings on day three of the Asia Baseball Championship, while it took just five innings for Japan to defeat Thailand Taiwan yesterday beat Palestine 19-0 at the Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium on the third day of the Asian Baseball Championship. The Group A game was over in six innings after a 6:03pm start. Taiwan went on the offensive from the first inning, scoring three runs, but the real damage was done in the third inning, when they scored seven. The Palestine players are all studying or working in the US. In another duel between two unevenly matched teams, Japan thrashed Thailand 16-0 in their late Group B game at the Taipei Dome. They won in five innings thanks to the mercy rule, which states
NATIONS LEAGUE: England crushed Scotland 6-0, but their Olympic hopes were ruined when the Netherlands beat them on goal difference with a 4-0 win against Belgium Germany and the Netherlands on Tuesday booked their places at the UEFA Women’s Nations League finals , where they are also to fight for spots at next year’s Paris Games, but there was heartbreak for England whose hopes of competing in the Olympics were dashed, despite beating Scotland 6-0. Germany drew 0-0 in Wales, but secured their passage thanks to Iceland’s 1-0 win over Denmark. The Netherlands needed a 95th-minute goal from Damaris Egurrola to see them to a 4-0 win over Belgium which meant they edged England on goal difference in Group A1 after the FIFA Women’s World Cup runners-up hammered