Thursday 18 January 2018

Round up: Lemar opens his France account in style

Thomas Lemar was the subject of a £90m transfer deadline day offer from Arsenal. Photo: AP
Thomas Lemar was the subject of a £90m transfer deadline day offer from Arsenal. Photo: AP

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Thomas Lemar got his first two goals for France while substitute Kylian Mbappe also scored in a 4-0 demolition of 10-man Netherlands in a World Cup qualifier last night that leaves the Dutch with a huge task to reach the 2018 finals in Russia.

Antoine Griezmann had put the home side in front after 14 minutes, beating goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen with a left-foot shot from inside the area.

Midfielder Lemar, arguably the best player on the pitch, doubled the advantage by firing a superb half-volley into the top corner of the net on 73 minutes before adding a third from close range in the 88th.

New Paris Saint-Germain signing Kylian Mbappe wrapped up the victory in added time after coming off the bench.

The Dutch, who hardly created a chance, played the last 30 minutes with 10 men after midfielder Kevin Strootman was sent off for two yellow cards.

Elsewhere, Belgium stayed on course to reach the finals after midfielder Thomas Meunier scored three goals and delivered as many assists in their 9-0 Group H qualifying demolition of Gibraltar.

Kylian Mbappe celebrates after scoring France’ s fourth goal during the World Cup victory over the Netherlands in Paris last night. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Kylian Mbappe celebrates after scoring France’ s fourth goal during the World Cup victory over the Netherlands in Paris last night. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Romelu Lukaku also scored a hat-trick as the Belgians remained in the group's driving seat with 19 points from seven games, six more than Greece who were held to a 0-0 home draw by Estonia.

Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo hit a hat-trick, his fifth for his country, to lead the European champions to a 5-1 win over the Faroe Islands in Group B.

The 32-year-old took his haul in the current qualifying campaign to 14 goals in seven games and his overall tally to 78 in 144 internationals.

Group leaders Switzerland are three points clear after beating Andorra 3-0 in a game interrupted by rain. Third-placed Hungary beat Latvia 3-1 to reach 10 points.

Irish Independent

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