A flurry of goals, a record and first place in the pocket: the French team made short work of humble Gibraltar (14-0), registering the biggest success in their history to gain the status of holder at Euro-2024, Saturday .
Already qualified for the European Championship (from June 14 to July 14 in Germany), the Blues had one last mission in Group B to avoid unpleasant surprises in the draw for the competition on December 2 in Hamburg. But facing one of the weakest nations on the planet, 198th in the FIFA rankings, this task was a real walk in the park in Nice for the world runners-up.
If in the first game in September, France did a minimal service (3-0), this time they played to the maximum, much to the great misfortune of their opponents, who were suffocated from the start and almost immediately reduced to ten.
This historic display, which erases from the shelves the 10-0 inflicted on Azerbaijan in Auxerre in 1995, will add nothing to the glory of Didier Deschamps’s troops, as the difference in level between the two teams is immense. However, the coach is not one of those who run away from his pleasure and will appreciate the seriousness of his players who, before the final meeting, on Tuesday in Greece, registered their 7th success in as many matches in this qualification phase.
With such dominance, almost everyone joined the party. The unfortunate Ethan Santos opened the ball against his camp (3rd) before the second goal for the French team Marcus Thuram (4th), then Warren Zaire-Emery (16th), Kylian Mbappé (30th from the penalty spot, 74th, 82nd ), Jonathan Clauss (34th), Kingsley Coman (36th, 65th), Youssouf Fofana (37th), Adrien Rabiot (63rd), Ousmane Dembélé (73rd) and Olivier Giroud (88th, 90th +1 ), more than ever the best scorer of the Blues (56).
An avalanche of goals and chances, which delighted the Allianz Riviera public, although it will be difficult to draw conclusions from this match between two countries that do not play in the same category. The debate over the identity of the Blues’ number 9 has therefore not progressed: we will have to see Thuram, who is preferred to Randal Kolo Muani at the start, in other circumstances to get an idea of his level in the game on the international stage and whether he is better suited to the position than the currently disappointing PSG striker. Especially since the indestructible Giroud showed with his double that he is far from finished at the age of 37.
Mbappé took the opportunity to improve his statistics. With his hat-trick, including a magnificent lob from more than 40m, the French captain took his team to 46 in total.
Coman also roamed down the right and caused headaches for Gibraltar’s poor defense creating numerous chances.
For Warren Zaire-Emery, the attraction of this last gathering of the year, the meeting had a bitter taste. Matched from the start, the Paris midfielder became, at 17 years, eight months and 10 days, the youngest player to play in the French team since the First World War. And his fairy tale continued with the first goal after a nice attack and exchange with Coman. But the PSG wonder was cut short by Santos, who was sent off in action and had to make way for Fofana after 20 minutes due to a right ankle injury.
But nothing to spoil the fun and festivity of the Blues, impressive power and efficiency in an evening that will go down in history.