Euro 2024 qualifiers: Mbappe breaks record as France down Greece

 Kylian Mbappe
France's Kylian Mbappe with referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz after the match. Photo: Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes

France striker Kylian Mbappe scored to set another milestone as his side maintained their perfect record in Euro 2024 qualifying Group B with a 1-0 home victory against Greece who finished with 10 men after a late sending off on Monday.

Mbappe netted a second-half penalty to become the all-time leading French scorer over a season with 54 goals for club and country, beating the mark set by Just Fontaine in 1957-58.

The result left France top with 12 points, six ahead of second-placed Greece, who had Konstantinos Mavropanos sent off in the 69th minute after Mbappe's 55th-minute spot kick.

"It was a long season for the players," said France coach Didier Deschamps. "We did what we had to to win this game even if we can regret we did not score another because you never know what can happen late in the game.

"We wanted to follow up on our win against Gibraltar, in front of our crowd," said midfielder Eduardo Camavinga, referring to France's 3-0 win on Friday.

"We knew they were a tough nut to crack but we did the job, three points without conceding a goal. Now, straight to holidays."

Randal Kolo Muani had a clear chance in the 25th minute with a downward header from Mbappe's cross but his attempt went just wide.

It came after earlier opportunities for Mbappe and Kingsley Coman but the offensive trio hit a brick wall.

After having three penalty claims denied, Les Bleus had another chance to score, only for Jules Kounde's volley to be tipped away by Odysseas Vlachodimos.

The hosts were finally awarded a penalty early in the second half after Antoine Griezmann, looking to connect with a cross from the left, was hit in the head by Mavropanos.

Vlachodimos parried Mbappe's spot kick but it had to be taken again as the keeper had left his goal line too early.

Mbappe found the top corner on his second attempt to score his 40th goal in his 70th international and Greece's hopes were further dashed when Mavropanos picked up a straight red card when he took down Kolo Muani, who was rushing towards goal.

After Saturday's win over Gibraltar, France have now scored nine goals and kept clean sheets in all four qualifying games.

They next face third-placed Ireland, who have three points from three games, at home on September 7 when Greece travel to the Netherlands, who are fourth with three points from two matches.

Bukayo Saka
England's Bukayo Saka celebrates with the match ball after scoring a hat-trick . Photo: Reuters/Molly Darlington

England's Bukayo Saka netted a hat-trick in a 7-0 rout of North Macedonia as they tightened their grip atop Group C with a fourth consecutive victory.

Captain Harry Kane, with his 57th and 58th goals for his country, Marcus Rashford and Kalvin Phillips all scored at Old Trafford in a game the hosts dominated as predicted.

"This is a feeling I can't really put into words. There's nothing I can say to describe it. I'm just so happy," Saka told Channel 4.

Manager Gareth Southgate revealed that Saka's tremendous performance had come despite a nagging Achilles injury.

"He's had it for a few weeks," Southgate told a news conference. "It is an injury that just needs managing... when you've had one of the best nights of your life, it's a reminder that it's worth going through these things."

England look set for next year's finals after amassing a perfect 12 points, having also beaten Ukraine, who are second on six points from three matches, Italy and Malta.

The results: Group B: France bt Greece 1-0; Ireland bt Gibraltar 3-0. 

Group C: England bt North Macedonia 7-0; Turkey bt Wales 2-0

Group H: Northern Ireland lost to Kazakhstan 0-1; Slovenia drew with Denmark 1-1.

Group I: Switzerland drew with Romania 2-2; Israel bt Andorra 2-1; Belarus bt Kosovo 2-1.

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