France and Belgium start with victories in European Championship qualifiers

FSoccer runners-up France started qualifying for the 2024 European Championship finals in Germany with a commanding win over the Netherlands. Thanks to early goals, the French were quickly on course to win 4-0 (3-0) on Friday against the weakened guests, who were missing several players due to a virus infection, including Bayern defender Matthijs de Ligt.

Antoine Griezmann gave the lead at the Stade de France in St. Denis near Paris in the second minute. Munich’s Dayot Upamecano (8th minute) with a bit of luck after a free kick from Griezmann and captain Kylian Mbappé (21st) quickly increased. Before the 3-0, Frankfurt Randal sent Kolo Muani through for the better positioned Mbappé. With an individual performance, Mbappé (88th) put the end to the superior hosts shortly before the final whistle. Goalkeeper Mike Maignan then even parried a penalty kick from Memphis Depay (90+6).

Belgium, with new national coach Domenico Tedesco, won 3-0 (1-0) in Sweden four days before the friendly against the German team in Cologne thanks to a Romelu Lukaku hat-trick. The top scorer headed in a cross from Dodi Lukebakio in the 35th minute to take the lead and then completed a preliminary work by the Hertha player to score the second goal (49′). Lukaku was there again in the 83rd minute. Old master Zlatan Ibrahimovic came on as a substitute for Sweden in the 73rd minute.

The former Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski botched the start of the qualification with Poland at 1: 3 (0: 2) in the Czech Republic. Former Portugal coach Fernando Santos, who is now on the Polish bench, saw a false start for his team in Prague, who were 2-0 down after just three minutes.

The Austrian national team coached by Ralf Rangnick impressed in the 4-1 (2-0) win over Azerbaijan. Twice Marcel Sabitzer (28th/50th), Michael Gregoritsch (29th) and Christoph Baumgartner (69th) scored the goals in Linz.


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