Striker Kylian Mbappe contributed two goals when France beat the Netherlands 4-0 in Euro 2024 qualifying on the evening of March 24.
*Scored: Griezmann 2′, Upamecano 8′, Mbappe 21’88’.
The news that Mbappe was given the captaincy of France at the age of 24 was controversial before the match. Some people are concerned about a conflict between the PSG striker and his senior Antoine Griezmann, who thinks he deserves that honor after his contributions to the team. However, France’s eye-catching display at the Stade de France has shattered the skepticism.
In the second minute, Mbappe created the opener. Taking advantage of his opponent’s slowness, Griezmann grabbed the ball at Kenneth Taylor’s feet before finishing with a touch from the junior’s cross, beating Jasper Cillessen. After scoring, the 32-year-old striker pointed at Mbappe and then ran towards the new French captain to congratulate him.
This is also Ronald Koeman’s debut as a Dutch coach. The 60-year-old leader gives opportunities to many new faces such as Taylor, Xavi Simons or Lutsharel Geertruida. However, against a core French team, the Dutch 4-3-3 ball control style was not only ineffective but also made them constantly exploited.
In the eighth minute, Griezmann once again made his mark with a free-kick that Cillessen made a mistake, allowing Dayot Upamecano to cushion the empty net. The Netherlands had a good chance to equalize when Nathan Ake passed behind the home defense, putting Steven Berghuis in the face. But the away striker could not finish in time to the closeness of Theo Hernandez.
Georginio Wijnaldum missed in the penalty area and not long after, the midfielder playing for AS Roma hit the goalkeeper Mike Maignan’s position. But while struggling to find an equalizer, the Netherlands received another fatal blow. Mbappe crossed from the middle of the field to catch Aurelien Tchouameni’s slot. The Dutch defense slowed down by Randal Kolo Muani’s gentle touch and watched helplessly as Mbappe easily defeated Cillessen. The new France captain was very excited after this goal and so were the stands of the Stade de France.
The two teams tit for tat in the following minutes, but no more goals were scored in the first half. Koeman’s adjustments seem to make the Dutch squad more balanced. But 58% of the away team’s full possession of the ball was not converted into a goal as they rarely made it difficult for Maignan.
On the contrary, if the opportunity is spared, France can score more goals after the break. Davy Klaassen’s careless back pass created a chance for Mbappe but his narrow shot could not beat Cillessen. Two minutes before time was up, the visitors continued to make mistakes when Depay passed Mbappe’s foot. This time, the home striker took a tight, diagonal shot to set the match score.
The Netherlands had the opportunity to remove the face mask in the fifth minute of injury time when they were awarded a penalty by Upamecano’s handball. But Depay could not beat Maignan despite launching two consecutive shots, making the visitors’ disastrous performance even more humiliating.
This victory helps France to top Group B of Euro 2024 qualifying when equal points but more than Greece difference. They will be away to Ireland in the next match on March 27 while the Netherlands take on Gibraltar.