PARIS — Kylian Mbappe 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 Euro 2024.
Les Bleus set a new record margin of victory in European qualifying and a national record in a demolition of Gibraltar in Nice.
Ethan Santos’ own goal, Marcus Thuram and 17-year-old Warren Zaire-Emery on his international debut had already put France in command before Santos’ red card on 18 minutes allowed Didier Deschamps’ men to run amok.
Mbappe’s penalty made it 4-0 and Jonathan Clauss, Kingsley Coman and Youssouf Fofana all scored before half-time.
Adrien Rabiot, Coman again and Ousmane Dembele kept the score ticking over before Mbappe struck twice to seal his hat-trick, AFP reported.
Olivier Giroud then came off the bench to grab the final two goals and ensure the history books were re-written.
But the scoreline will raise fresh questions over the need for such clashes between giants and minnows in a congested fixture calendar.
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 Stephen Kenny’s final competitive game in charge.
“We can be proud of ourselves and we certainly are now that we´re going to the European Championship,” Netherlands captain Virgil Van Dijk told Dutch broadcaster NOS.
“With all the problems, injuries we´ve had, we´ve still managed it. Now we can start preparing,” he added according to AP.
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 ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, Israel went in front after just two minutes through Eran Zahavi.
But 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 is now in pole position to win Group I with a draw at home to the Swiss on Tuesday 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.
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 half-time, but Wales failed to find a winner that leaves them needing Croatia to slip up.
The 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 on Tuesday and hope Croatia fail to beat Armenia at home.
Croatia is on the verge of qualifying for next year’s European Championship after beating Latvia 2-0 as its closest rival Wales dropped points in a 1-1 draw with Armenia.
Early goals from Lovro Majer and Andrej Kramari’c gave Croatia a comfortable victory at last-place Latvia.
Croatia will secure a qualifying spot on Tuesday with a win over Armenia in its last game or if Wales fails to beat Group D leader Turkey.
Wales’ players started the day knowing that winning their last two games would ensure qualification but trailed after just five minutes. Lucas Zelarayan put Armenia ahead with a shot from the edge of the penalty area after Wales failed to clear a corner.
Wales went into halftime level following Nair Tiknizyan’s own-goal but created little in the second half as Armenia looked the more likely team to win, AP reported.
Only two of Armenia’s 19 shots were on target, though, and the draw meant Armenia’s slim chances of qualifying were ended when Croatia won its game.
Wales previously won one of its games with World Cup semifinalist Croatia and drew the other but a 4-2 loss at home to Armenia in March was costly.
From the moment Armenia’s Lucas Zelarayan cut in and fired a shot into the bottom corner after five minutes, the Welsh never managed to exert any sort of control.
They enjoyed a huge stroke of luck in first-half stoppage time when a long throw-in by Connor Roberts went in off the head of Armenia’s Nair Tiknizyan.
It failed to inspire a second-half surge though and it was Armenia, who knew a win could keep alive their qualification hopes, who were the more likely winners.
Vahan Bichakhchyan was denied by the crossbar and Edgar Sevikyk had a chance saved in stoppage time.
Wales had opportunities too with Ethan Ampadu having a header saved but they did not do enough to warrant three points.
They are in third place with 11 points from seven games, five behind group leaders Turkey, while second-placed Croatia now have 13 points after beating the Latvians.
Early goals from Lovro Majer and Andrej Kramaric were enough to put Croatia in the driving seat for automatic qualification before the final matchday.
Fourth-placed Armenia, who has eight points, looked crestfallen at the final whistle as their Euro 2024 hopes ended — paying the price for losing to bottom side Latvia in October.
Ampadu said all Wales can do now is beat Turkey and hope for a favour elsewhere, Reuters reported.
“We are always good at bouncing back and on Tuesday we need to control what we can control and get the result we need, and maybe we will get a little bit of luck along the way,” he told BBC Wales.
Belarus defeated Andorra 1-0 in Group I.