Kylian Mbappe scored his first hat-trick for France as the reigning world champions secured their place at next year’s World Cup in Qatar in style by thrashing Kazakhstan.
Mbappe got four of the eight goals, with the striker’s first three coming in the opening 30 minutes. He completed the rout with a late fourth. Mbappe’s hat-trick was the first by a France player in a competitive international since Dominique Rocheteau in 1985.
Karim Benzema got two after the break. Adrien Rabiot and Antoine Griezmann, with a penalty, were the other scorers.
Victory guarantees France will top Group D as they have 15 points, four clear of second-place Finland with one game remaining.
It was not the usual international at the Parc des Princes, as the stadium was filled with emotion and banners in homage to those lost in the terrorist attack on November 13, 2015. There was a minute of silence perfectly respected before kick-off. There was an incredible rendition of “La Marseillaise” by the crowd on 15 minutes to mark the moment when the first bomb exploded outside of the Stade de France on that night six years ago during a match between France and Germany, while at the same time thousands of fans lit up their phones to create an amazing wall of lights in the stadium.
“We have an attack that imposes fear, one of the best in the world,” Mbappe said after the match.
“Now, whether we are the best in the world, it’s down to preference. What is clear is that we understand each other very well on the pitch and we want to play for each other and for the national team.”
Griezmann’s late penalty was his 42nd for his country, moving him past Michel Platini in France’s scoring charts into third all-time, only behind Olivier Giroud and Thierry Henry.
“The aim was to qualify, but we did it in style, too, and you could see the enjoyment the players got from playing together and how they shared things, notably the forwards,” France coach Didier Deschamps told French television.
“It’s good, everyone got their slice of the cake. It’s a result that rewards everything we did well in both halves. The risk at halftime is to drop off a bit, but we continued, that’s also about respecting your opponent.”