London, March 24 (Xinhua) -- France, captained by Kylian Mbappe, defeated the Netherlands 4:0 on the 24th to win the first qualifying match of the 2024 UEFA European Football Championship. Belgium beat Sweden 3-0 away on the same day, and Romelu Lukaku completed a "hat-trick".
France's Kylian Mbappe celebrates a goal during a match on March 24. Xinhua News Agency (photo by Goran Gervo)
In the first round of Group B, the Netherlands suffered a disadvantage before they could leave, with five players returning home the day before the match due to the flu. France, home to Paris, got off to a perfect start, scoring just two minutes into the game, assisted by Kylian Mbappe on Griezmann's finish.
In the eighth minute, taking advantage of a mistake in the Dutch penalty area, French defender Upamecano changed the score to 2-0. Kylian Mbappe, who wore the armband of the French captain for the first time, scored a solo goal in the 21st minute and then drove straight into the box before the end to seal the score at 4-0.
France's Griezmann (center) celebrates a goal with his teammates during a match on March 24. Xinhua News Agency (photo by Goran Gervo)
"We've been preparing for a week with the idea of not disappointing our fans." Kylian Mbappe, who has scored 38 goals for France and is fifth on France's all-time goalscorer list, said: "This is the first time we have played here since the World Cup. It's a successful first step, but we have to continue to do our best in the group stage. ”
Belgium in Group F played Sweden on the same day, with Romelu Lukaku scoring with a header from inside the box in the 35th minute and an empty shot from the start of the second half. In the final stages of the match, the Inter striker went down again to make it 3-0.
Belgian player Romelu Lukaku (center) scored the first goal with a header on March 24.
In the 73rd minute, the 41-year-old was sent on when his team was 2-0 down, to a round of applause from the home fans. However, the oldest player in European Qualifier history failed to make a difference.
Greece, in the same group as France, beat Gibraltar 3-0 away. Belgium's group rivals, Austria, sent Azerbaijan away 4:1. In addition, the Czech Republic in Group E drew 3:1 with Poland and Moldova drew 1:1 with the Faroe Islands; Bulgaria in Group G lost 1-0 at home to Montenegro and Serbia beat Lithuania 2-0.