France sealed their place at next year’s World Cup following an 8-0 thrashing of Kazakhstan in Paris.
A first-half hat trick from Kylian Mbappe helped move Didier Deschamps’ men four points clear at the top of Group D with a game to spare to ensure that they will defend their title in Qatar.
Mbappe gave the hosts the lead after just six minutes. Karim Benzema moved into the left-hand channel to free Theo Hernandez, and the Milan wing-back clipped the ball across goal for Mbappe to stroke home at the near post.
And the PSG forward made it two shortly after following a swift counter attack, with Kingsley Coman rounding goalkeeper Stas Pokatilov and squaring for Mbappe to tap into an empty net.
Kazakhstan were almost handed a route back into the match when Dayot Upamecano was caught in possession, but Erkin Tapalov’s looping effort was easily held by Hugo Lloris.
Mbappe grabbed his hat trick just after the half-hour mark when he powered a header into Pokatilov’s far corner, securing his first treble for Les Bleus.
France were caught napping again almost immediately from kick off when Oralkhan Omirtayev won a free header, but Lloris stood tall to deny him.
Benzema got in on the act just after the break when he poked home Hernandez’s low cross, and after a lengthy VAR check for offside, the goal was allowed to stand.
The Real Madrid striker secured his brace just a couple of minutes later when Mbappe unselfishly laid it off to him to grab his first assist of the evening.
France nearly had a sixth when Mbappe’s dangerous cross was headed by Maksat Taykenov towards his own net, completely outfoxing Pokatilov and striking the inside of the post.
Goal-line technology deemed that the ball had not crossed the line, while a VAR check cleared the Kazakhstan defender of handling it.
Substitute Moussa Diaby had the ball in the back of the net almost immediately after replacing Benzema, but Mbappe was deemed to be offside in the build up.
Adrien Rabiot scored his first goal for France after heading in from Antoine Griezmann’s corner, before Mbappe nearly grabbed his fourth and Jules Kounde was denied a maiden international strike.
France were awarded a penalty when Vladislav Vasiljev foolishly tripped Griezmann with a blatant late challenge, and the Atletico Madrid forward scored from the spot.
Diaby and Mbappe continued to give the Kazakhstan defenders nightmares and combined again to add France’s eighth, with the latter grabbing his fourth of the game.
France just about found the strength to hold onto their eight-goal lead in stoppage time to inflict Kazakhstan’s heaviest ever defeat as an independent nation.
Hugo Lloris (GK) – 7/10 – A bit busier than he probably would have expected to be, but dealt with Kazakhstan’s threat well and his quick release was crucial to France’s second.
Jules Kounde (CB) – 7/10 – Was comfortable shuffling over to fill in at right back when necessary and wasn’t particularly troubled.
Dayot Upamecano (CB) – 4/10 – Looked out of his depth in a game that his side won emphatically against opponents much weaker than themselves. Impressive.
Lucas Hernandez (CB) – 7/10 – Was essentially the left-sided version of Kounde and put in a nearly identical performance.
Kingsley Coman (RM) – 10/10 – As good a performance a player could have without scoring a goal. Tortured Kazakhstan all night long and looked like prime Ronaldinho at times.
N’Golo Kante (CM) – 6/10 – A few loose touches but provided plenty of energy and swept up effectively.
Adrien Rabiot (CM) – 7/10 – Congratulations to Adrien Rabiot for earning a score that was not ‘N/A’ in our player ratings. A rare sight.
Theo Hernandez (LM) – 9/10 – A real menace down the left. His performance would have looked more impressive if Coman didn’t decide to go berserk on the other flank.
Antoine Griezmann (AM) – 8/10 – Enjoyed playing in the free role, but again the tremendous work of the wide players meant he didn’t receive as much attention in central areas.
Kylian Mbappe (CF) – 10/10 – Wow. Mbappe may have started the club season slowly but goodness me he put on a show at Parc des Princes for his country.
Karim Benzema (CF) – 9/10 – Pretty much played in first gear and was still excellent.
Aurelien Tchouameni (CM) – 7/10 – A calming influence in midfield following Kante’s substitution.
Moussa Diaby (CF) – 8/10 – Unfortunate not to have grabbed a goal immediately after his arrival. Played with real intensity and was deserving of his assist.
Benjamin Pavard (RM) – N/A
Clement Lenglet (CB) – N/A
Wissam Ben Yedder (CF) – N/A