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EURO 2024

Goal galore as France demolish 10-man Gibraltar 14-0 in record win

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 Euro 2024 Qualifier - Group B - France v Gibraltar - Allianz Riviera, Nice, France - November 18, 2023 France's Kylian Mbappe celebrates scoring their twelfth goal REUTERS/Claudia Greco Acquire Licensing Rights

France recorded the biggest victory in European Championship qualifying with a 14-0 rout of 10-man Gibraltar on Saturday as Kylian Mbappe grabbed a hat-trick and Warren Zaire-Emery scored on his debut.

The French surpassed Germany’s 13-0 win over San Marino in 2006 in their biggest ever win in international football. It was also the first time a European team had scored 14 goals in a World Cup or European Championship qualifying match.

“Being down to 10, already with 11 it’s complicated for them, but it doesn’t take away the credit for us even if we could have been more efficient, it’s as much about respecting the opponent as scoring goals,” France manager Didier Deschamps said. “Fourteen is not bad.”

Marcus Thuram, Zaire-Emery, Mbappe, Jonathan Clauss, Kingsley Coman and Youssouf Fofana netted in the first half of the Group B match after France had gone ahead through a third-minute own goal.

France were already assured of top spot in the group and Deschamps handed 17-year-old Zaire-Emery his debut, making him the youngest France player since 1914.

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The teenager became the youngest scorer for France since that date with his goal in the 16th minute, but he was caught on his ankle by Ethan Santos. The Gibraltar defender was sent off and Zaire-Emery’s debut came to a premature end.

With Gibraltar reduced to 10 men, France’s biggest ever win, 10-0 over Azerbaijan in 1995, was clearly within sight.

Adrien Rabiot and Coman’s second brought the record closer and Ousmane Dembele made it 10-0 before Mbappe scored twice to complete his hat-trick, his third a delightful long-range effort after he spotted the keeper off his line.

Mbappe overtook Antoine Griezmann to move into third place on France’s all-time scorers list on 46 goals and he is now only five behind Thierry Henry.

Substitute Olivier Giroud, France’s all-time top scorer, got in on the act with two late goals to complete the demolition job and move on to 56 goals for his country.

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France, who have won all seven group games, will look to maintain that perfect record when they travel to Greece on Tuesday for their final game.

“We’re going to enjoy what we did tonight, we’re not going to Greece to go for a ride. It’s a new goal,” Deschamps said.

“Tonight was a perfect night aside from Warren’s injury, but it’s not a big deal, it could have been worse.”

Gibraltar, who suffered their heaviest ever loss and have yet to score in the qualifying group, end their campaign with a home game against the Netherlands who secured qualification with a 1-0 win over Ireland on Saturday.

-Reuters

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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