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France – Gibraltar: a record evening and a rain of goals for the French national team

“Perfect Evening”. It’s hard to argue against Kingley Coman after France’s display in their final Euro 2024 qualifier on Saturday 18 November. If they have already printed a ticket for the continental competition, which will be held in Germany in the summer of 2024. (June 4 to July 14), the Blues wanted to secure the best possible position. Against a very weak Gibraltar team in Nice, Antoine Griezmann’s partners did much more: they destroyed Roche’s team in an emphatic victory (14-0), the biggest in the history of the Blues.

perfect then? “No, I expect a lot from him”. Kylian Mbappé is not easy to mess up, and Gibraltar’s defenders found that out on Saturday night. But the France captain was left stunned when Didier Deschamps reinterpreted a phrase from Luis Enrique, his coach at PSG (after the Ligue 1 win over Reims). After Zinedine Zidane’s side’s record-breaking 10-0 win against Azerbaijan in 1995, the French coach had a spirit of play. “He knows it, he’s an extraordinary player, he can do things that others don’t”Didier Deschamps smiled at the TF1 microphone as he praised his captain, who scored a new hat-trick – and his 300e career goal

Spectators gathered at the Allianz Riviera in Nice quickly realized they were about to witness a lone rider. Between the flamboyant tricolor cowboys, determined to go straight ahead and multiply the goals like a shower of stars, and a Gibraltar team overrun from 3.e minute – own goal by Ethan Santos – the difference was too big. “It was a great evening. Coach said have fun tonight, do as much as you can.”Olivier Giroud, who was interviewed by the broadcaster after the meeting, was enjoying himself.

“Extraordinary collective performance”

The substitute, the Blues’ all-time top scorer, watched the first period from the bench as his partners led the way energetically – two goals in the first five minutes, seven at the break – before taking his turn at the party. His two goals, late in the match, completed France’s success and gave France a new record. Didier Deschamps’ men did better than Germany in 2006 against San Marino (13-0) and became the first European team to score 14 goals in a major competition (Euro or European Cup) qualifier.

“We played very well in the first half and we played very well in the second half, even if we were more efficient. 14 goals, that’s not bad.”, enjoyed the Basque technician after the meeting. In a game where every striker shone, from Kylian Mbappé, the author of a hat-trick and three assists, to double scorer Kingley Coman, the only downside is Warren Zaire-Emery. Becoming France’s youngest member since 1914, the 17-year-old Parisian scored his first goal for the Blues after a quarter of an hour, but he fell victim to a knock on the ankle as he went over. The defender Ethan Santos was sent off – the PSG midfielder could not celebrate the goal and was forced to leave. “Not a fracture, but a great strain after an act of incredible violence, Didier Deschamps said after the meeting. I’d rather he remember his first choice with his first goal than with an injury. »

If the Blues were somewhat roaring at the start of the second half, with Gibraltar keeper Dale Cowling shining, a fresh barrage of goals arrived to wrap up the game. From Adrien Rabiot to Olivier Giroud, including the sumptuous inspiration of Kylian Mbappe, whose shot 44 meters from goal stunned the keeper who was well in front, all the blues were shining. Antoine Griezmann wasn’t the only one to score, but French vice-captain Olivier Giroud preferred to score late in the game when he could have scored.

With fourteen goals scored, goalkeeper Mike Mainian with just one ball to put under his gloves and a place at the Euros, the Blues could have puffed their chests out. But, like Kylian Mbappe, the French made no mistake as the gap to the Gibraltar side was reduced to ten after less than twenty minutes of play. “Our goal was to set this record, the coach told us, so we stayed serioussaid the French captain after the meeting. He has scored 300 goals [dans sa carrière], this is a new step for me, but it takes second place. We had an extraordinary collective performance. »

It’s up to them to do it again in Athens on Tuesday 21 November (8:45pm) to end this so far perfect qualifying campaign with an apotheosis (seven successes in as many matches). “We are not going to go to Greece for a walk or to see”, warned Didier Deschamps. As for the ride, it was scheduled for Saturday for his soldiers.

Source: Le Monde



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