France beats Gibraltar 14-0 for record win in European Championship qualifying
NICE, France (AP) — Kylian Mbappé scored a hat trick as France routed Gibraltar 14-0 for the biggest-ever victory in European Championship qualifying on Saturday.
Veteran striker Olivier Giroud came off the bench to score twice as Les Bleus broke the 13-0 record set by Germany against San Marino in 2006 for Euro 2008 qualifying.
“The team played extraordinarily well today,” said Mbappé, who took his international tally to 46 goals. “This was a victory for teamwork.”
Teenage midfielder Warren Zaïre-Emery became France's youngest goal scorer on his international debut and then went off injured against a Gibraltar side that played most of the match with 10 players following an early sending off.
France's biggest previous win was 10-0 against Azerbaijan in a European qualifying game in 1995.
The only negative note for France was the injury to Zaïre-Emery, the latest prodigy to break into the national team. Coach Didier Deschamps said initial tests showed the injury was not too serious.
“We were worried because the ankle flared up quickly," he told broadcaster TF1. “Scans showed there is no fracture, but it's a pretty big sprain. I'm sure he'd rather remember his first appearance for his goal than for anything negative.”
Zaïre-Emery started and confidently finished the move in the 16th minute to become France’s youngest scorer at 17 years and 255 days. The Paris Saint-Germain player limped off after defender Ethan Santos trod on his right ankle just as Zaïre-Emery smacked the ball into the top right corner. Santos, who had scored an own-goal in the third minute, was sent off.
World Cup runner-up France was already through to Euro 2024 as Group B winner. This was a seventh straight win, with 27 goals scored and just one conceded. Rock-bottom Gibraltar has lost all seven matches and allowed 35 goals.
Inter Milan forward Marcus Thuram poked home France’s second goal after just four minutes. Following Zaïre-Emery's fine goal, Mbappé made it 4-0 from the penalty spot in the 30th following a handball.
Right back Jonathan Clauss drilled in a fine shot from 20 meters; right winger Kinsgley Coman struck from close range, and midfielder Youssouf Fofana’s shot went under the goalkeeper’s body to make it 7-0 after just 37 minutes.
Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot turned in the eighth following a goal-mouth scramble and Coman’s deflected effort made it 9-0 midway through the second half.
Winger Ousmane Dembélé netted before Mbappé side-footed home and then brilliantly lobbed the goalkeeper from 44 meters to make it 12-0 in the 82nd minute.
“I’d been watching (the goalie) for 20 minutes and he was always far off his line," Mbappé said. "I’m not sure why.”
Giroud still had enough time to extend his national scoring to 56 goals with a close-range bicycle kick as Les Bleus broke Germany's record.
France completes qualifying against Greece in Athens on Tuesday, when Gibraltar hosts second-place Netherlands.
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