Victory at Friend’s Arena provided Belgium’s new coach Domenico Tedesco with a perfect start as his team looks to bounce back from a disappointing group-stage loss in Qatar, but Janne Andersson’s Sweden was not much of a threat.
Dejan Kulusevski thought he gave the home side the lead in the 15th minute when he broke through on the right and shot low at the legs of goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, but Vauth Fayes was on hand to prevent the ball from crossing the line.
Lukaku succeeded in the 35th minute, beating Hjalmar Ekdahl and crossing the ball into Dodi Lucebakio, who had been tormenting the Swedish defence since the start of the match.
The Belgian striker then took advantage of the poor marking to double his team’s lead early in the second half when Lucebakio again picked it out for a low shot, which he converted from close range.
Ibrahimovic, 41,’s appearance in the 73rd minute after a long absence due to injury drew a roar from the crowd as the striker became the second oldest player to play in a European Championship qualifier.
Ibra’s first notable touch came seven minutes later, when he chested the ball into the penalty box, but he lost his footing on the notoriously bad pitch in Sweden’s national arena and the chance was missed.
Three minutes later, Lukaku set the stage for the match when the home team’s defense suffered another collective collapse, leaving him to score one more goal to complete his treble and secure an easy victory for the visitors.
This story has been corrected: in point 6, Ibrahimovic is the second oldest player, not the oldest.
Mbappe, appointed captain after Hugo Llaurice ended his international career in January, set up Antoine Griezmann to open the scoring, and then scored a third goal after Diote Upamekano doubled the score in the first half before finishing the score in front of an enthusiastic crowd.
Mike Magnan, the number one goalkeeper after Llaurice left, saved Memphis Depay’s penalty in the penalty time.
With influential central defender Rafael Varan also now out of international competition, France sought to impress the fans in their first game since losing the World Cup final against Argentina on penalties in December and did so against a virus-ridden Dutch team under their newly appointed manager.
The result was a slap in the face for Ronald Koeman, who was playing his first match since replacing Louis van Gaal after Oranje reached the quarterfinals of the Qatar World Cup in his second post after the first in 2018-2020.
It’s great, Mbappe said. We didn’t want to concede a goal, so everyone is happy. Mike doesn’t like to concede goals, and for the first time as number one, he achieved a clean sheet.
We’re all rooting for him. We’ve been preparing not to disappoint the fans in this first game since the World Cup.
France leads Group B, ahead of Greece, which beat Gibraltar 3-0 on the road. On Monday, Didier Deschamps’ team will face Ireland in Dublin, and the Netherlands will take on Gibraltar.
The Dutch, who were missing five players after the team was struck by a viral infection, started poorly when Les Bleus scored after just two minutes when Griezmann capped a superb run of play with a corner kick following an Mbappe pass.
The visitors’ defense then made a dogged dinner out of Griezmann’s free kick, and Upamekano scored, doubling the lead six minutes later.
If you lose 2-0 after seven minutes of play, it’s certainly a hell of a job, said Dutch captain Virgil van Dijk.
We just didn’t start well and then we fell behind… Then they play a pretty easy match with their qualities. We’ll have to look at it, it’s hard to analyze it so quickly, but 2-0 after seven minutes is just a shame.
It got even worse for the Dutch when Mbappe made the score 3-0 after 22 minutes, scoring from close range in clinical fashion after being fouled.laid out by Aurélien Tchouameni.
The visitors threatened briefly at halftime, but Depay’s attempt went just wide as Koeman replaced striker Waut Weghorst with midfielder Kenneth Taylor in the 33rd minute.
Nine minutes before halftime, France came close again when Jasper Sillessen deflected Ibrahima Konate’s header.
The Netherlands had a chance early in the second half when Depay executed a free kick, but it was no more than they could manage when Upamekano and Konate stiffened the French central defense.
Randal Colo Mouani, who started the game as the lone striker in France’s 4-3-3 formation, also showed decentThe game was a very difficult one, until he was replaced by Olivier Giroud in the 76th minute.
France then picked itself up before traveling to Dublin, but Mbappe poured salt in the Dutchman’s wounds by dancing to the area before scoring his fourth goal and his 38th in 67 appearances with a powerful cross.
Maignan’s late penalty made fans wonder what might have been if the Milan keeper had been in goal in the World Cup final, which he missed due to injury.