It was quite an emotional occasion last night at the Stade de France, as the French national team booked their place at the 2022 World Cup on the sixth anniversary of the 2015 Paris terror attacks — and with a resounding 8-0 thumping of Kazakhstan, who never stood a chance. Kylian Mbappé by himself had a hat-trick in the first half-hour! He would finish with four, while Karim Benzema added a couple, and Antoine Griezmann and Adrien Rabiot rounded things off with one each.
Rabiot partnered N’Golo Kanté in the two-man midfield and played a little over 70 minutes (and hopefully without aggravating any previous muscle fatigue), with Didier Deschamps again favoring the fashionable 3-4-3. Kanté was replaced by Chelsea-linked Aurélien Tchouaméni, while Chelsea-linked Kingsley Coman played right wing-back and Chelsea-linked Jules Koundé played right-center back.
Meanwhile, Chelsea loanee Ethan Ampadu put in another good shift for Wales, playing in midfield as they beat up on Belarus, 5-1. Wales, who were celebrating Gareth Bale’s 100th cap, have a pretty good chance of making it to the World Cup as well, already assured of a spot in the playoffs and maybe even a home game in it. (Belgium, with zero current Chelsea representation, beat Estonia 3-1 yesterday.)