France takes stride towards Euro 2024 finals with home victory over Ireland

© Anne-Christine Pujoulat, AFP

Aurelien Tchouameni's superb strike set France up for a comfortable 2-0 win over Ireland in a Euro 2024 qualifier on Thursday as Les Bleus took a big step towards securing a spot at next year's finals in Germany.

Real Madrid midfielder Tchouameni opened the scoring with a stunning first-time hit into the far corner in the 19th minute on a steamy night in Paris, and substitute Marcus Thuram increased the lead just after half-time.

Last year's beaten World Cup finalists have a maximum 15 points and have yet to concede a goal after five matches in qualifying Group B, which they lead by a massive nine points from both the Netherlands and Greece.

"It is an important step. We have enjoyed a perfect campaign so far but we are not going to rest on our laurels," said France coach Didier Deschamps.

The Dutch, who have played just three games, beat Greece 3-0 in Eindhoven and are favourites to qualify with France.

Ireland, with just three points after four games, will surely need to beat the Netherlands at home on Sunday to maintain a realistic chance of going through.

"I can't fault my players. I thought they gave everything," said Ireland manager Stephen Kenny.

It was a goal reminiscent of his ferocious strike against England in last year's World Cup quarter-final, won 2-1 by France.

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