- France hosted the Netherlands in the UEFA Euro 2024 qualifiers at the Stade de France on Friday evening
- France headed into the match having just appointed Kylian Mbappe as the new captain of the team
- Goals from Mbappe, Griezmann and Koeman sealed a thrashing 4-0 victory over the Netherlands
France won their first game since losing the World Cup final 4-0 at the Stade de France, kicking off their Euro 2024 qualification campaign with a bang.
Antoine Griezmann put France ahead early on after being set up by the man selected ahead of him for captaincy, Kylian Mbappe before Dayot Upamecano doubled their lead after Jasper Cillessen botched a free-kick.
Mbappe made it three before the halftime break, then added another late on as Didier Deschamps’ men cruised to their first Group B victory.
The Dutch had lost several players in the build-up to the game due to a virus, but the start of their qualifying campaign and Ronald Koeman’s second stint as head coach will have made them sicker, with Memphis Depay seeing a late penalty saved to add insult to injury.
After all the talk about France’s captaincy, Mbappe fed the ball inside to Griezmann, who side-footed low and hard to Cillessen’s right to give the hosts a second-minute advantage.
Cillessen’s failure to cope with Griezmann’s free-kick from the right resulted in the ball ricocheting off Upamecano and rolling through the Dutch goalkeeper’s legs into the net.
France beat Netherlands to get going on the road Germany 2024
Mbappe scored his first goal as skipper in the 21st minute, when he passed the ball to Aurelien Tchouameni on the halfway line, then raced to the left side of the penalty area to latch onto the Real Madrid midfielder’s return pass, which was dummied by Randal Kolo Muani, before finishing calmly.
After only 33 minutes, Koeman took action by substituting Manchester United loanee Wout Weghorst for Kenneth Taylor, and the Netherlands were able to escape further damage despite never really testing Mike Maignan in the French goal.
If Griezmann was disappointed by Deschamps’ decision to give the armband to Mbappe, he hid it well as he scored after just a minute and 55 seconds.
It was the fastest goal for Les Bleus since October 11, 2006, when Louis Saha scored after 37 seconds against the Faroe Islands.
The Netherlands had 59 per cent possession, and 11 shots to France’s 12, but their slow start gave them far too much to do.
France had not led by three goals this early in a contest since December 17, 1953, when it took just 10 minutes against Luxembourg.
Mbappe excelled in his first game as captain, taking five shots, four more than any of his teammates, and making 18 passes in the opposing half, second only to Tchouameni.
On Monday, France travels to the Republic of Ireland, while the Netherlands entertain Gibraltar as Group B continues.