Paris Saint-Germain striker Kylian Mbappe netted four goals to end a drought for France and seal World Cup qualification for the holders on a dramatic night of European action
It was the first time a French player had scored four or more goals in a competitive game since Just Fontaine in June 1958 against West Germany.
Les Bleus were one of two confirmed qualifiers on the night along with Belgium but the Netherlands must wait despite Barcelona forward Memphis Depay bagging a brace against Montenegro, who battled back to secure a 2-2 draw.
It was a night where Europe’s biggest stars shone for their nations with Karim Benzema also grabbing a double in France’s comprehensive victory over Kazakhstan in Paris.
Prior to tonight, only Germany, Denmark and Brazil had sealed their places in next winter’s tournament alongside hosts Qatar but Saturday saw the trio of European nations join them.
Mirror Football rounds up all you need to know from an eventful evening of World Cup qualification.
Mbappe’s historic quartet
AFP via Getty Images)
No France international had scored three or more goals in a competitive match for the nation since Dominique Rocheteau’s treble against Luxembourg in October 1985.
Kylian Mbappe ended that drought on Saturday with a quickfire treble in the first half for a dominant France against group outsiders Kazakhstan, who end their campaign without tasting victory, before adding his fourth late on.
Mbappe – playing in familiar surroundings of Paris Saint-Germain’s Parc des Princes stadium – struck his three goals inside the space of 26 first half minutes to devastate the visitors.
Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema almost repeated the feat in the second half, netting two goals before being substituted off for Moussa Diaby, with Adrien Rabiot and Antoine Griezmann also among the scorers in the 8-0 rout.
Earlier in the day, Finland leapfrogged Bosnia and Herzegovina along with Ukraine into second spot and a playoff play thanks to a 3-1 win in Sarajevo.
France have qualified as group winners and will travel to second-placed Finland on the final day on Tuesday.
The Finns (11 points) require a win to seal their place, as Ukraine (9 points) travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina, who can now no longer qualify.
Memphis double Dutch
Barcelona forward Memphis Depay hit both goals but the Netherlands failed to secure their place at the World Cup finals with a draw in Montenegro.
The Dutch had missed out entirely on the previous World Cup and have now risked their place in next year’s finals, but still have a game to spare.
Netherlands led 2-0 with eight minutes to go but two goals from the hosts stunned the visitors and leaves them with work to do – leading both Turkey and Norway by two points.
Turkey are now favourites to grab second spot, at least, in the group following a 6-0 win over Gibraltar, coupled with Norway being held at home by Latvia – in a game the hosts dominated.
The Scandinavian side travel to the Dutch on the final matchday and must better the result of Turkey in Montenegro, who will finish fourth in the group.
It promises to be a dramatic final day with Louis van Gaal’s side needing to avoid defeat to secure their place in Qatar.
Belgium through, but fail to convince
Roberto Martinez’s side are the number one ranked side in the FIFA rankings and sealed their spot in the World Cup finals with victory at home to Estonia.
Without Romelu Lukaku, Youri Tielemans, Toby Alderweireld and others, the Red Devils still fielded a strong side and were never likely to drop points at home to the Estonians.
Goals from Christian Benteke, Yannick Carrasco and Thorgan Hazard – who replaced his brother Eden, with the Real Madrid forward once again underwhelming – were enough for the hosts.
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It was far from a vintage Belgian win, with Thibaut Courtois producing a nervy display and he spilled an effort that gave Estonia’s Erik Sorga a consolation goal, with the Belgians now keeping just two clean sheets in their last seven.
Wales, who thumped basement side Belarus 5-1 in Cardiff, are now in second spot and will host Martinez’s side in Tuesday’s final game.
If Rob Page’s men avoid defeat, they will secure second spot ahead of Czech Republic, who must beat Estonia at home and hope Wales lose to nick a playoff place.