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France, Portugal, Belgium clinch Euro 2024 qualification

Kylian Mbappé and Cristiano Ronaldo both scored twice to help France and Portugal secure a spot at next year’s European Championship with a perfect record in qualifying, with Belgium also clinching a berth in Germany on Friday.

The three European powerhouses all needed a win to qualify for the tournament and their star strikers made sure they got them.

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Mbappé’s two goals — including a long-range strike for the second — helped secure a 2-1 win over the Netherlands in Amsterdam for a perfect sixth win in Group B.

Mbappé opened the scoring in just the seventh minute when he beat Lutsharel Geertruida to a cross from the right by Jonathan Clauss to volley past Brighton goalkeeper Bert Verbruggen, who was making his debut for the Netherlands.

It was Mbappé’s 41st international goal, drawing him level with France great Michel Platini, and came despite recent struggled with Paris Saint-Germain.

“I’m not one to worry, and especially not about Kylian,” France coach Didier Descamps said. “He showed today there was nothing to worry about.

“When he’s like this obviously France have more chances to win.”

Mbappé doubled the lead in the 53rd minute when he exchanged passes with Adrien Rabiot on the edge of the Netherlands’ penalty area before curling a shot over Verbruggen.

Feyenoord midfielder Quilindschy Hartman, in his first full international appearance, made it 2-1 with 10 minutes to go. It was the first goal France have conceded in the campaign.

Greece moved up to the second place with 12 points after Giakoumakis and Giorgos Masouras scored a goal a piece to beat Ireland 2-0 in Dublin.

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The Netherlands remain on nine in third with a game in hand.

The top two teams in each group directly qualify.

Ronaldo’s double improved his record tally of international goals to 125 in 202 appearances and led Portugal to a 3-2 win over Slovakia.

Ronaldo converted from the penalty spot in the 29th minute, sending Slovakia goalkeeper Martin Dúbravka the wrong way to double the lead to 2-0.

Forward Goncalo Ramos had given the hosts the lead with a header 11 minutes earlier.

After David Hancko pulled one back for Slovakia in the second half, Ronaldo restored a two-goal advantage off a low cross from Bruno Fernandes that found him at the far post.

He jumped high in his trademark celebration in front of the roaring fans in Porto after his seventh goal in six qualifying games.

“Cristiano is in a good moment of form, he is playing a lot of minutes and scoring a lot of goals with his club,” Portugal coach Roberto Martinez said afterward.

“In the national team he has a lot of experience, he is a stimulus and a reference for the youngsters. We are all doing the best we can. It’s not an individual game, it’s a collective game.”

Stanislav Lobotka scored the second for Slovakia in the 80th.

With three games to go, Portugal have a 100% record after seven straight wins with a 27-2 goal difference, the best-ever performance in a European qualifying campaign. Slovakia were the first team to score against Portugal.

Slovakia remain on 13 points in second with Luxembourg trailing by two in third after holding Iceland to a 1-1 draw in Reykjavik.

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Bosnia won 2-0 at pointless Lichtenstein and is fourth on nine with Iceland another two back.

Romelu Lukaku scored again and Dodi Lukébakio added two more for Belgium, who had to hang on with 10 men to beat Austria 3-2 in Vienna and secure advancement from Group F.

Lukaku beat goalkeeper Alexander Schlager to make it 3-0 after collecting a precise pass from Jérémy Doku in the 58th, just three minutes after Lukebakio scored his second.

Lukaku tops the scoring table in qualifying with nine goals from six games to take his international tally to 79.

Lukebakio broke down the right before netting inside the far post from a tight angel to put the Red Devils ahead in the 12th. It was the first international goal for the Sevilla forward.

Konrad Laimer pulled one back for Austria in the 72nd and Belgium then went down to 10 men six minutes later when midfielder Amadou Onana was sent off for a second booking. Marcel Sabitzer netted Austria’s second from the penalty spot in the 84th but the hosts couldn’t find an equalizer.

Belgium have 16 points from six games, with Austria three points behind after their first loss in qualifying.

Sweden, who was idle Friday, are in third on six points from five games and still have a small chance of overtaking Austria.

The Associated Press, Reuters and ESPN’s Adriana Garcia contributed to this report.

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