Kylian Mbappé scored twice to assist his country secure qualifying for the European Championship the following year in Friday’s 2-1 victory over the Netherlands for France’s sixth straight victory in Group B.
There had been rumors that the 24-year-old France captain was out of form because he hadn’t scored in four games for Paris Saint-Germain, but the goal drought was swiftly ended by duty with his country before Friday’s game at the Johan Cruyff Arena.
Mbappé scored the game’s first goal in just the seventh minute by volleying past Brighton goalkeeper Bert Verbruggen, who was making his international debut for the Netherlands, after beating Lutsharel Geertruida to a cross from the right by Jonathan Clauss.
Mbappé tied France legend Michel Platini with his 41st goal in international play. Olivier Giroud, France’s all-time leading scorer with 54 goals, came off the bench in the second half but was unable to add to his total.
In the 53rd minute, Mbappé extended the advantage after passing to Adrien Rabiot on the edge of the Netherlands’ penalty area and looping a shot over Verbruggen.
Feyenoord midfielder Quilindschy Hartman made it 2-1 by beating Mike Maignan at the near post to finish a solid maiden full international outing with 10 minutes remaining. The World Cup runner-up France gave surrendered their first goal in their qualifying group.
Following Greece’s victory over Ireland on Friday to go into second place, the Netherlands, which had suffered its second defeat to France in qualifying, dropped to third. Monday’s game between the Netherlands and Greece might determine which side advances to the tournament in Germany the following year.
Shortly after Mbappé’s second goal, substitute Donyell Malen believed he had trimmed the deficit, but the goal was disallowed because Nathan Aké was offside during the buildup.
Verbruggen and Hartman made their debuts for Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman in his injury-riddled starting lineup without Barcelona playmaker Frenkie de Jong and striker Memphis Depay.
Bayer Leverkusen wing-back Jeremie Frimpong became the third new international of the evening for Oranje when he replaced Denzel Dumfries in the 62nd minute, while Tottenham defender Micky van de Ven became the fourth debutant in the 80th minute when he replaced Aké.