France struggles to win over Greece in group Orange, seven-hit England
France has maintained the maximum score in the qualification series towards the 2024 European Championship in Germany. Oranje’s groupmate also won its fourth group game in Paris at the expense of Greece: 1-0.
The win takes France to 12 points from four matches. Greece, which won against Ireland on Friday, remains on 6 points from four matches. The Netherlands has 3 points from two games. Ireland, which won 3-0 over Gibraltar, is also on 3 points. Gibraltar is still scoreless.
Kylian Mbappé put the French ahead with a penalty kick after 55 minutes.
Paris Saint-Germain’s super striker missed his first attempt, but was lucky that the video referee allowed the penalty to take over because that Greek goalkeeper Odisseas Vlachodimos had come out of his goal too early. Mbappé did not fail again after that.
Mbappé passes legendary compatriot
For the 24-year-old Mbappé, it was his 54th goal of the season for club and country, taking over the French record set by the legendary Just Fontaine in 1958.
Fontaine, who died in March, became World Cup top scorer in Sweden that same year, still an untouchable record. France recorded a difficult 3-0 victory at Gibraltar last Friday.
Last game arbiter Lahoz
The game at the Stade de France was the last game of the career of Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz, the referee who caused a stir during Argentina-Netherlands in the World Cup quarterfinals.
The other Group B match between Ireland and Gibraltar ended in a narrow 3-0 win for the Irish. Mikey Johnston, Evan Ferguson and Adam Idah provided the goals after halftime.
Like France, England did not lose any points. The finalist of the last European Championship in 2021 crushed North Macedonia 7-0 at Old Trafford.
Bukayo Saka was the big man in Manchester with a hat-trick for the English. The striker accounted for the 2-0, 4-0 and 5-0.
Saka’s second goal was by far the best when he appreciated a wonderful long pass from Trent Alexander-Arnold, controlled the ball and then fired the ball in pebbly.
Harry Kane (1-0 and 7-0), Marcus Rashford (3-0) and Kalvin Philipps (6-0) provided the remaining goals.