Kylian Mbappé is captaining France to a comfortable start in qualifying for the European Championship though Serbia's Dusan Vlahovic was the standout striker. France's 1-0 win at Ireland was earned by defender Benjamin Pavard's rasping 50thminute shot that was a rare show of attacking force in Dublin. Like France, Serbia has begun its qualifying program with two wins thanks to Vlahovic striking twice late in a 2-0 win at Montenegro.
The first in the 78th was a slick first-time shot to meet a cross from the left flank. Poland got its first points after beating Albania 1-0 though it was a Major League Soccer striker rather than superstar Robert Lewandowski who scored. Karol Swiderski, who plays for Charlotte and was little used at the World Cup, got the decisive goal just before halftime. A look at the eight qualifying games across Europe on Monday For the second time in four days,
France players were hugging goalkeeper Mike Maignan at the final whistle for their new No. 1's standout saves. Maignan's leaping, stretching save to push away a goalbound header by Ireland defender Nathan Collins ensured a 1-0 win in Dublin. On Friday, in a 4-0 rout of the Netherlands, Maignan kept his shutout by saving a stoppage-time penalty from Memphis Depay. Depay opened the scoring on Monday for the Dutch with a 24th-minute header in a routine 3-0 win over minnow Gibraltar. It seemed like an attack vs. defense practise even before Gibraltar's Liam Walker was sent off in the 51st for a high tackle on midfielder Mats Wieffer. One minute earlier, Nathan Ake scored with a header and the defender added his second in the 82nd when his deflected shot from the edge of the penalty area rolled softly into the net.
Dusan Vlahovic was not fully fit at the World Cup and Serbia went home early without a win and last in a group in which Brazil and Switzerland advanced. The Juventus forward was sharp on Monday, scoring with a pair of left-foot shots late in a 2-0 win at Montenegro. Serbia and Montenegro, which both began the five-team group with wins on Friday, are neighbors who formed a united team for three years from 2003, including at the 2006 World Cup. Hungary captain Dominik Szoboszlai scored perhaps the goal of the night in a 3-0 win over Bulgaria.