France showed just why they’re favourites to win Euro 2024 by obliterating Gibraltar in a record-breaking 14-0 win on Saturday.
Kylian Mbappe grabbed a hat-trick of both goals and assists in the rout, while Olivier Giroud scored a sublime overhead kick to cap the huge victory, the biggest ever in Euro qualifying history. World Cup finalists France were already 3-0 up before minnows Gibraltar were reduced to 10 men in the 18th minute, as Les Bleus racked up seven before half-time.
Didier Deschamps’ side didn’t let up in the second half either, with Giroud entering the fray and extending his record as France’s all-time top goalscorer. A rasping shot from left-back Theo Hernandez stung the palms of goalkeeper Dayle Coleing and saw the ball loop towards former Arsenal and Chelsea striker Giroud lurking at the back post.
The 37-year-old AC Milan star shaped up for a spectacular bicycle kick and emphatically found the net, making it 14-0 in the 91st minute. France had already booked their ticket to Euro 2024 but manager Deschamps, who was handed a new contract earlier this year, named a strong starting XI for their penultimate qualifier at the Allianz Riviera in Nice.
An own goal from Gibraltar defender Ethan Santos got Les Bleus going after only three minutes before Marcus Thuram made it 2-0 a matter of seconds later. PSG’s wonderkid Warren Zaire-Emery then scored his first international goal. Unfortunately, he was soon forced off through injury after being on the end of lunging challenge which led to Santos’ red card following a VAR check.
France showed no mercy as Mbappe scored a penalty on the half-hour mark, with Jonathan Clauss, Kingsley Coman and Youssouf Fofana all netting to make it 7-0 at the interval. The visitors managed to hold off the French bombardment until the 63rd minute, as Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot got in the act.
Coman then grabbed his second before a strike from Ousmane Dembele and another two from Mbappe, completing his hat-trick after already setting up three of his team-mates. Giroud then grabbed two goals for himself in the dying embers, the final one being the pick of the bunch.
Confirmed Group B winners France next travel to Greece on Tuesday in search of making it a perfect qualifying campaign, having already made it seven wins from seven games. They’ve only conceded one goal, too, scoring a whopping 27 in the process.
The reverse fixture in Gibraltar was (only) 3-0 but Saturday’s result was a reminder of just how talented of a squad Deschamps has at his disposal. The pressure will be on for the 2018 World Cup-winning boss to deliver another major trophy in Germany next summer.