France’s Kylian Mbappe marked his first appearance as captain with a brace to spoil Ronald Koeman’s second debut as Netherlands boss. The French side cruised to a 4-0 victory against their European rivals in the first Euro 2024 qualifier. The Dutch found themselves 3-0 down at half-time as the French cut through with ease. Mbappe dashed through with searing pace to slot past goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen in trademark fashion. It marked his first appearance since being formally named as captain of the French national side. Mbappe also grabbed an assist in the opening moments of the match, setting up Antoine Griezmann in the second minute. Dayot Upamecano doubled the lead minutes later after some shoddy defending from a corner before Mbappe’s strike.
While Koeman’s side enjoyed more than their fair share of possession, his second debut did not go to plan as Mbappe wrapped up the win in style with a stunning solo effort. As for France, it’s clear that they are not experiencing any form of a World Cup hangover having been beaten by Argentina in the final. Mbappe scored a hat-trick in that match and has continued his fine form for the national side since. It is his 37th and 38th goal for the 2018 World Cup champions, which sees him overtake Karim Benzema for France goals. Olivier Giroud is the record goalscorer for Les Bleus with 53 while Mbappe already has 67 caps at the age of 24.
Mbappe’s performance was a clear indication of his leadership qualities and his ability to lead from the front. He was instrumental in France’s World Cup victory and has continued to be a key player for them ever since. His pace, skill and finishing ability make him one of the most dangerous forwards in world football and his performances for PSG have been nothing short of exceptional.
It was a disappointing start for Koeman in his second stint as Netherlands boss. He was appointed in February 2018 after the sacking of Dick Advocaat but failed to qualify for the World Cup. He has since been tasked with rebuilding the Dutch side and has brought in a number of young players to try and achieve that. However, his side looked out of sorts against a dominant French team and will need to improve if they are to qualify for Euro 2024.
France, on the other hand, look like they are going from strength to strength. They have a talented squad with a good mix of youth and experience and are one of the favourites to win Euro 2024. Mbappe’s performance will have given them a huge boost and they will be hoping that he can continue his fine form for both club and country.
Overall, it was a dominant performance from France and a disappointing start for Koeman’s Netherlands. Mbappe stole the show with his captain’s performance and showed why he is one of the best players in the world. It will be interesting to see how both teams fare in their next qualifiers and whether they can build on their performances.