Thursday, February 2, 2023

Preview: Netherlands – France

SoccerNews in European Championships 12 Jun 2008


After their stunning 3-0 win over Italy on Monday, the Netherlands look to achieve another positive result against World Cup runners-up France in the second match.

Marco van Basten’s men will be confident ahead of the clash with France, but several players stressed the importance of staying focused.

It is still unsure whether winger Arjen Robben is to make an appearance against the French, although he did train with the rest of the selection on Thursday.

Reserve striker Klaas Jan Huntelaar will not be available due to a calf injury and Mario Melchiot is struggling with a groin injury.

Dutch defender Khalid Boulahrouz feels that it is too early to celebrate: “We have done a good job and made an excellent start, so the spirit and belief have increased.

“We just have to keep on working towards the France match the way we did before the Italy game. We may have beaten the world champions, but we have not achieved anything yet. We will only see at the end what we have managed.”

It is expected that France manager Raymond Domenech makes four changes to his starting line-up. Star players Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira are both good candidates to make their comeback after injuries.

Thierry Henry seemed to be in good shape during an extra practice match against a local team earlier this week. The Barcelona striker even scored a goal in that game.

Other likely options for the French line-up are Sidney Govou and Samir Nasri.

France will need to show a better display than they did against Romania, in what was easily one of the least attractive matches at Euro 2008 so far.

In their last meeting, a 2004 friendly, the two sides held each other to a goalless draw. Four years earlier, the Netherlands beat Les Bleus 3-2 at the European Championships but both teams had already qualified for the next round and a defeat was in fact a better result for the French due to venue locations in the quarter finals.

Excluding that match, the last time the Netherlands beat France was in a World Cup qualifying match in 1981.

Referee for this match is German Herbert Fandel, with linesmen Carsten Kadach and Volker Wezel and fourth official Grzegorz Gilewski of Poland.


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