Mbappe leads France 4-0 over the Dutch; Belgium beat Sweden on Lukaku triple
Sports Desk, Mar 24 (EFE).- Kylian Mbappe scored twice Friday in his first match as the France captain, powering Les Bleus to a 4-0 victory against the Netherlands in the Euro 2024 qualifiers.
Romelu Lukaku, who came into Friday’s match against Sweden as Belgium’s all-time leading scorer, had a hat trick in Stockholm to start Domenico Tedesco’s tenure as coach of the Red Devils with a solid 3-0 win.
The Dutch squad the 2024 World Cup runners-up welcomed to the Stade de France was missing striker Cody Gakpo and four other players to a non-Covid-19 viral infection, but coach Ronald Koeman will still have been furious to see his team go behind 2-0 in the first eight minutes.
Antoine Griezmann opened the scoring in the 2nd minute with an assist from Mbappe.
Six minutes later, Dayot Upamecano put the ball in the net after the Dutch defense failed to handle Griezmann’s free kick.
Mbappe scored in the 21st minute and Ibrahima Konate forced a save from Dutch keeper Jasper Cillessen in the 36th.
The 24-year-old Mbappe, who became captain following goalkeeper Hugo Lloris’ retirement from international play, added a fourth goal with two minutes left in regulation to increase his total in official matches to 30, just four behind Thierry Henry.
The visitors won a penalty in stoppage time, but France keeper Mike Maignan stopped Memphis Depay from the spot to preserve the clean sheet.
Belgium, trying to rebound after failing to make it out of the group stage at the World Cup, faced the Swedes with a mix of old faces – Lukaku, Thibaut Courtois, Kevin de Bruyne – and newcomers such as Dodi Lukebakio and Amadou Onana.
Dejan Kulusevski was poised to give Sweden the lead in the 15th minute with a shot that beat Courtois, but Wout Faes stopped the ball on the line.
Lukaku got his head to a cross from Lukebakio to make it 1-0 for the visitors in the 35th minute.
The Inter Milan star doubled the advantage four minutes into the second, again with an assist from Lukebakio, and completed the hat trick in the 82nd minute.
For the Swedish fans, the high point of a disappointing game came in the 73rd minute, when the legendary Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 41, came off the bench to become the oldest player to take part in a Euro qualifier. EFE lmpg-alc/dr