Wednesday 12/8/21
QATAR 2022 QUALIFIER

France smash Kazakhstan 8-0 ahead of Tuesday's trip to Finland

Mbappe scores four as Les Bleus reach Qatar

13 November 2021, France, Paris: France's Kylian Mbappe celebrates scoring a goal during the 2022 FIFA World Cup European qualifiers Group E soccer match between France and Kazakhstan at Parc des Princes stadium. Photo: Matthieu Mirville/ZUMA Press Wire/dpa.
France's Kylian Mbappe celebrates scoring a goal during the match against Kazakhstan at Parc des Princes stadium. Photo: Matthieu Mirville/dpa.

Kylian Mbappe scored four and set up another as France thrashed Kazakhstan 8-0 to seal their place at the 2022 World Cup with ease.

Going into Saturday's Group D fixture knowing a win would ensure their spot in Qatar, the reigning world champions had little trouble in brushing aside a team placed 122 places below them in FIFA's latest rankings.

Mbappe starred on his Paris Saint-Germain stomping ground, with two superb first-time finishes paving the way for him to wrap up his hat-trick with a fantastic header before he then teed up Karim Benzema after the break.

Benzema had made it 4-0 just four minutes prior, with Adrien Rabiot and Antoine Griezmann getting in on the act before Mbappe had the final say in an emphatic victory.

"We couldn't do any better, we respected the game, we respected the opponent, it's a perfect night," Mbappe told L'Equipe.

"My four goals? There is pride above all to play for your country, and to play at another World Cup, it is a dream come true. I always said I wanted to make history for my country. I'm trying to do it little by little, it will continue at the World Cup in Qatar."

It took just six minutes for Mbappe to get Les Bleus rolling with a cushioned, side-foot volley from Theo Hernandez's cutback.

Another six minutes followed before Mbappe struck again, drilling home after Kingsley Coman - playing at right wing-back - had got beyond the hapless Stas Pokatilov, who had rushed out of goal wildly.

Mbappe's hat-trick was completed by the 32nd minute, the forward rising between two static defenders to head in brilliantly from Coman's inch-perfect cross.

Celebrating

Hernandez levelled with Coman for assists when he laid it up for Benzema to prod in at the near post, and the Real Madrid striker was soon celebrating again when he finished into an empty goal after playing a delightful one-two with Mbappe.

It meant Benzema beat David Trezeguet's mark of 34 to enter the top five France men's scorers of all-time.

"I didn't know that I could pass Trezeguet in the list of scorers for Les Bleus and I am happy because Trezeguet is a legend. But the most important thing was the win," he told M6.

Pokatilov managed to prevent Maksat Taykenov bundling into his own net, with Moussa Diaby denied a goal for offside before Rabiot's close-range finish.

Vladislav Vassiljev's ludicrously late challenge on Griezmann was penalised on a VAR review, with the Atletico Madrid forward converting the resulting spot-kick before Mbappe's crisp finish finally rounded off the scoring.

Fresh from their Nations League triumph in October, this was as dominant a display as you would be likely to see from Didier Deschamps' team, whose place in Qatar is secure.

Not France's largest victory

Despite its emphatic nature, Saturday's victory was not France's largest, however; Les Bleus defeated Azerbaijan 10-0 in 1995.

Mbappe has now scored 22 goals for France, at the age of 22 years and 10 months, at least three years younger than any other player. Thierry Henry achieved the feat at the age of 25 years and 10 months in June 2003.

He is the first player to score three or more goals with France in a competitive game since Dominique Rocheteau in October 1985 against Luxembourg, and capped off a supreme display with an assist to boot.

France finished with 20 attempts, and 14 of those hit the target. Visiting goalkeeper Pokatilov was badly exposed all game, and though his rash decision led directly to the second goal, he still managed to make six saves, which given the proximity of the shots he was often facing, is perhaps not something to be scoffed at.

Then again, any goalkeeper coming away from a match having conceded eight times can hardly hold their head high. It was a horror show from start to finish for Kazakhstan.

There is no pressure on France now for Tuesday's trip to Finland, which rounds out their qualification campaign. Kazakhstan, meanwhile, host Tajikistan in a friendly.

Comments