France, Belgium, and Portugal advance to Euro 2024 despite late scares
France, Belgium, and Portugal all teetered on the edge of Euro 2024 qualification but clung to narrow one-goal victories on Friday night, securing their places as the first teams to qualify for the upcoming tournament.
Belgium, despite being reduced to ten men, held on for a 3-2 win in Vienna, securing a top-two finish in Group F and their spot in the finals in Germany.
In Amsterdam, France, led by two goals from Kylian Mbappe, triumphed 2-1 over a weakened Dutch side.
Cristiano Ronaldo also netted twice, but Portugal faced a late scare with a two-goal lead before ultimately defeating Slovakia 3-2 in Porto in Group J.
In Amsterdam, Mbappe showcased his skills by volleying in a goal after seven minutes and later curling in a sumptuous shot eight minutes into the second half.
His second goal marked his 42nd international goal, surpassing French legend Michel Platini and placing him fourth in the all-time list.
France’s coach, Didier Deschamps, emphasized the team’s achievement, saying, “We mustn’t get carried away, but we must appreciate and not trivialize things.
To qualify with two games to go, with six wins, 13 goals scored, and just one conceded, I’m very proud of what the group has achieved, both in terms of spirit and on the pitch. We got the result we wanted, we achieved our objective.”
Meanwhile, Greece’s 2-0 victory in Dublin eliminated Ireland and propelled them ahead of the Dutch in the standings. Giorgos Giakoumakis and Giorgos Masouras scored in the first half for the 2004 European champions, establishing a three-point lead over the Netherlands.