Lemar & Mbappe score as France hammer Netherlands

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Thomas Lemar was the subject of interest from Liverpool and Arsenal before Thursday’s transfer deadline

Thomas Lemar scored twice and Kylian Mbappe once as France thrashed 10-man Netherlands in Paris to go top of World Cup qualifying Group A.

Antoine Griezmann gave France the lead before Monaco’s Lemar scored a 25-yard spectacular and a tap-in.

Mbappe, who joined Paris St-Germain from Monaco on Thursday, added another.

Cristiano Ronaldo became Europe’s all-time record scorer in World Cup qualifiers with a hat-trick as Portugal beat the Faroe Islands 4-1 in Group B.

Group A – Griezmann controversy breeds Dutch despair

Kevin Strootman’s sending off came with the Netherlands trailing 1-0

France had looked well on course to win Group A until losing in Sweden in June, but recovered well in a dominant performance against the Netherlands.

It was Lemar who was the centre of attention, on the day that Arsenal attempted to complete a late deal to sign him from Monaco.

The first of the France forward’s two goals was superb, a 25-yard first-time shot steered into the top corner after a weak Dutch clearance.

His second was much easier, a tap into an empty net following Griezmann’s break as Dick Advocaat’s side lost their discipline.

Griezmann had given Didier Deschamps’ side a 14th-minute advantage, slotting under Jasper Cillessen after playing a one-two with Olivier Giroud.

The Atletico Madrid striker, however, was involved in controversy when his theatrical fall led to Dutch midfielder Kevin Strootman being sent off for a second bookable offence after an hour.

A furious Strootman remonstrated with the France forward before leaving the field, and could only watch as Lemar’s double made it 3-0, before Mbappe finished stylishly following an exchange of passes with Griezmann for his first international goal.

Defeat leaves the Netherlands, who replaced Danny Blind with Advocaat after an awful start to their qualifying campaign, three points adrift of a play-off place with three matches left.

They dropped to fourth, but retain a chance of qualification largely thanks to Sweden’s 3-2 defeat in Bulgaria, who go third after Ivaylo Chochev scored their winner 11 minutes from the end.

Luxembourg won a World Cup qualifier for only the fifth time in their history as they defeated Belarus 1-0.

Group B – Ronaldo a record-breaker

Cristiano Ronaldo’s bicycle kick was his 27th goal in World Cup qualifiers – and he went on to score two more

Real Madrid forward Ronaldo scored his 48th career hat-trick – and his fifth for his country – as Portugal beat the Faroe Islands 5-1 to strengthen their grip on the play-off spot in Group B.

He also moved clear of former Ukraine striker Andriy Shevchenko to become the highest European scorer in World Cup qualifying matches, taking his total to 29.

His first was his best, a stunning third-minute bicycle kick following a right-wing cross from Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva.

Norwich forward Nelson Oliveira also scored for Portugal, who remain three points behind group leaders Switzerland, 3-0 winners over Andorra.

Hungary remain third, eight points behind Portugal with three matches remaining, after beating Latvia 3-1.

Group H – Hazard on target as Belgium hit nine

Eden Hazard was playing for the first time since Chelsea’s FA Cup defeat by Arsenal in May

Romelu Lukaku and Thomas Meunier both scored hat-tricks as Belgium beat Gibraltar 9-0 despite playing a man short for 42 minutes.

Paris St-Germain right-back Meunier also provided four assists, setting up two of Manchester United striker Lukaku’s three goals, while Chelsea’s Eden Hazard also scored on his return from an ankle injury.

Belgium were reduced to 10 men when midfielder Axel Witsel, scorer of their fourth goal, was sent off for a dangerous challenge five minutes before half-time.

Gibraltar defender Erin Barnett was then sent off in the 82nd minute for a professional foul on Kevin De Bruyne, before Lukaku completed his hat-trick with the resulting penalty.

Roberto Martinez’s side increased their lead at the top of Group H to six points after Greece, in second, were held 0-0 at home by Estonia.

It means Belgium will secure qualification for the finals in Russia if they win in Greece on Sunday.

Bosnia-Herzegovina missed the chance to move above Greece, letting slip a two-goal lead as they lost 3-2 in Cyprus.

The home side scored three goals in the final 25 minutes, with Pieros Sotiriou’s deflected winner set up by Southend full-back Jason Demetriou.



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