Saturday, November 18, 2017

France 4 – 0 Netherlands: Les Bleus Take Another Step Towards Russia With Easy Win Over Incumbent Dutch Side

Juan Pablo Aravena in Editorial 31 Aug 2017

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France had one of their best performances in the World Cup qualifiers when they needed it the most. Thanks to a dominant effort in midfield and a strong attacking performance, France cruised their way to a dominant 4-0 win over Netherlands at Stade de France this Thursday. Antoine Griezmann, a brace from Thomas Lemar, and a goal from Kylian Mbappe led France to a comfortable win in front of their own crowd.

Antoine Griezmann Puts France Ahead

France began to control the game right from the start. Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante dictated the tempo of the game, and that allowed Les Bleus to position themselves near the Dutch box. As a result, the first goal arrived rather quickly.

Djibril Sidibe recovered the ball near midfield, passed it to Griezmann, and the Atletico star did all the rest. Following an impressive one-two combination with Olivier Giroud, Griezmann placed the ball into the net and between Jasper Cillessen’s legs. France led 1-0 before the 15th minute, quickly establishing supremacy on the score.

France In Cruise Control During The First Half

The Netherlands struggled to react following France’s goal. Arjen Robben was a non-factor, and Vincent Janssen spent most of the first half isolated between Samuel Umtiti and Laurent Koscielny. France, on the other hand, controlled the match with relative ease and came close to score a second goal at least twice, but they couldn’t show accuracy in the final third. Kurzawa sent a shot blasting over the bar, and Kingsley Coman tested Cillessen with a shot from the edge of the box, but the FC Barcelona goalkeper parried it with ease.

Coman was one of France’s best players. He terrorized the opposing defence with his attacking runs, and Daley Blind did not find a way to stop him during the first 45 minutes. The Dutch squad as a whole looked lost, and France moved the ball around the middle of pitch simply trying to find spaces in the final third. But despite their efforts, the first half ended with a 1-0 advantage for Les Bleus, even though they probably deserved to extend their lead before the break.

Second Half

Dick Advocaat tried to spark things up in the second half and sent Vilhena to the pitch instead of Wesley Sneijder, as the Nice playmaker did not have a good outing and struggled to create anything even remotely dangerous in midfield. And while France came close to add another goal on a chance from Pogba, the Netherlands were reduced to 10 men following the departure of Kevin Strootman. The AS Roma midfielder was booked twice in less than 10 minutes, and hit the showers early as a result.

Pogba seemed eager to add a goal of his own, but missed an incredible chance in the 70th minute when he blasted a close-range shot straight towards the keeper after leaving three defenders behind. The Manchester United playmaker did everything he could to add another striker, but it ended being another (potential) Premier League player who extended France’s advantage.

Lemar and Mbappe Close Things Out For France

Shortly after Pogba’s miss, Lemar capped on a rebound and placed a shot from outside the box outside of Cillessen’s reach to make it 2-0 for the home side. As if that wasn’t enough, Didier Deschamps sent Mbappe in place of Olivier Giroud to add another speedster in the attacking line. Mbappe quickly created havoc and had a huge chance to score, but his effort went straight to Cillessen once again.

France added a third and final goal nearing the end of the match, when a three-on-one attack finished with Lemar placing the ball after a low pass from Griezmann. Quite a turnaround for Lemar, who ended being key after being a non-factor during the first half. But they were not done, and Mbappe wanted a goal of his own. The PSG forward closed things out with a fourth goal on stoppage time.

Final Thoughts

The Dutch team could not adjust to France’s pressure and at times they looked brutally overmatched, particularly on the flanks. Mbappe, Lemar, Lacazette and Coman obliterated the opposing defence, and they could not generate chances going forward either. Hugo Lloris, in fact, did not have to work much to keep another clean sheet.

France secured an easy 4-0 win that put them one step closer to the World Cup in Russia next year. They now sit first in the Group A standings with 16 points after seven matches, and could clinch a berth quite soon. On the other hand, Netherlands now sit fourth with 10 points, and even a playoff spot seems complicated for them after such a bad performance.

France will play again next September 3 against Luxembourg at home, while the Netherlands will try to bounce back hosting Bulgaria on that same day.

Match Report

France: Lloris; Sidibe, Umtiti, Koscielny, Kurzawa; Kante, Pogba; Coman (Lacazette, 81′), Griezmann (Fekir 90′), Lemar; Giroud (Mbappe, 76′)

Netherlands: Cillessen; Fosu-Mensah, de Vrij, Hoedt, Blind; Wijnaldum, Strootman; Robben, Sneijder (Vilhena, 46′), Promes; Janssen (van Persie, 64′)

Goals: Griezmann (1-0, 14′), Lemar (2-0, 73′), Lemar (3-0, 88′), Mbappe (4-0, 90+1′)

Referee: Gianluca Rocchi (ITA)

Yellow Cards: Griezmann (17′), Strootman (56′), Lacazette (85′), Kurzawa (86′)

Red Cards: Strootman (62′)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Juan Pablo Aravena


A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.

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