France led a trio of teams to qualify for the Euro 2024 tournament as Kylian Mbappe’s double gave them a 2-1 away win against the Netherlands on Friday.
The World Cup runners-up, who have a perfect record in Group B, will be joined in the June 14-July 14 tournament in Germany by Portugal and Belgium.
Ollie Watkins strike gives England scrappy win over AustraliaRead more
Portugal also maintained a perfect record in Group J by beating Slovakia 3-2 at home while Belgium qualified from Group F with a 3-2 away victory against Austria.
France have not missed a Euro finals since 1988 and were too good for an injury-ravaged Netherlands side at the Johan Cruyff Arena. Mbappé, who left the training camp for a day for personal reasons this week, volleyed home in the seventh minute from Jonathan Clauss’s perfect cross.
Les Bleus allowed the hosts to gain confidence before the interval but Mbappé made sure there would be no comeback eight minutes into the second half. The 24-year-old, who has had an inconsistent start to the season with Paris Saint-Germain, collected a subtle layoff from Adrien Rabiot before curling a sublime shot into the far top corner from the edge of the box for his 42nd international goal.
It took him past the France great Michel Platini into fourth place on the national team’s all-time top scorers list behind Olivier Giroud (54) Thierry Henry (51) and Antoine Griezmann (44). Griezmann was playing a record-extending 81st consecutive game for France.
Stephen Kenny’s reign as Republic of Ireland manager reached the point of no return after a comprehensive 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Greece finally killed off any hope of Euro 2024 qualification.
First-half goals from Giorgos Giakoumakis and Giorgos Masouras at a sparsely-populated Aviva Stadium plunged Ireland’s shambolic Group B campaign further into the mire and left Kenny, whose tenure is due to be reviewed next month, with nowhere to turn.
skip past newsletter promotion
Sign up to Football Daily
Free daily newsletter
Kick off your evenings with the Guardian’s take on the world of football
after newsletter promotion
Giorgos Giakoumakis heads Greece into the lead in Dublin. Photograph: Seb Daly/Sportsfile/Getty Images
His team has managed to take just three points from their first six games of the campaign – and those from Gibraltar, whom they face again in Faro on Monday evening – and for all his claims to have revitalised his squad with young, hungry players, he has not been rewarded with what he needs most: results.
Gus Poyet’s Greece, who already have a play-off place secured via the Nations League, were streets ahead in terms of both potency and solidity, and they will entertain the Netherlands and France in their remaining fixtures with 12 points banked and hope of upsetting the odds.
For Kenny, there is only the prospect of a post-mortem amid a mounting chorus of disapproval after a night which ended with a smattering of boos, but more apathy.