France, Belgium and Portugal all seal their places at #EURO2024
Netherlands 1 – 2 France
Portugal 3 – 2 Slovakia
Austria 2 – 3 Belgium
Ireland 0 – 2 Greece
Iceland 1 – 1 Luxembourg
Liechtenstein 0 – 2 Bosnia and Herzegovina
Estonia 0 – 2 Azerbaijan
Kylian Mbappé and Cristiano Ronaldo both notched two goals each to secure qualification for France and Portugal in the European Championship with a flawless record in the qualifiers. Additionally, Belgium also sealed their berth in the tournament held in Germany on Friday.
The trio of European football powerhouses needed a victory to guarantee their spot in the championship, and their star strikers delivered in style.
Mbappé’s impressive performance, featuring a long-range strike for his second goal, propelled France to a 2-1 victory against the Netherlands in Amsterdam, maintaining their perfect record with six wins in Group B. He opened the scoring in the seventh minute, displaying his skills by volleying the ball past Netherlands’ goalkeeper Bert Verbruggen. Mbappé’s second goal came in the 53rd minute, with an exquisite shot from the edge of the Netherlands’ penalty area, following an exchange of passes with Adrien Rabiot. Quilindschy Hartman managed to pull one back for the Netherlands in the 80th minute, marking the first goal conceded by France in the campaign.
Greece moved into the second place in the group with 12 points after a 2-0 victory against Ireland, thanks to goals from Giakoumakis and Giorgos Masouras. The Netherlands remained in third place with nine points and a game in hand.
Cristiano Ronaldo extended his record-breaking tally of international goals to 125 in 202 appearances, guiding Portugal to a 3-2 victory over Slovakia. Ronaldo scored his first from the penalty spot in the 29th minute, and he added a second goal off a cross from Bruno Fernandes. Despite a goal from David Hancko for Slovakia in the second half, Ronaldo’s performance ensured Portugal maintained a two-goal advantage. Slovakia’s Stanislav Lobotka scored the second goal for his team in the 80th minute.
With three games remaining, Portugal retained a perfect record after seven consecutive wins, with an impressive 27-2 goal difference. This performance marked the best-ever showing in a European qualifying campaign. Slovakia became the first team to score against Portugal in this campaign. Slovakia remained in second place with 13 points, followed by Luxembourg, who were two points behind in third place after drawing 1-1 with Iceland.
Belgium, led by Romelu Lukaku and Dodi Lukébakio, secured their advancement from Group F with a 3-2 victory over Austria in Vienna, despite finishing with ten men. Lukaku scored his ninth goal in the qualifiers, topping the scoring table, while Lukébakio netted twice for the Red Devils. Austria’s Konrad Laimer and Marcel Sabitzer contributed goals, but the hosts couldn’t find an equalizer.
Belgium amassed 16 points from six games, with Austria trailing by three points after their first loss in the qualifiers. Sweden, who had an idle Friday, occupied the third place with six points from five games, still having a slim chance of overtaking Austria.