The French enter the UEFA Nations League as the newly crowned World Champions, unsurprisingly their form reads well – they won five of their six World Cup games, remaining undefeated, and just this week saw out a 0-0 draw with Germany in their Nations League opener
The Dutch have been left wanting for competitive football after missing out on Russia 2018 – two wins, two draws and a defeat from their last five, all being friendlies. Most worryingly from a Dutch perspective, they found themselves in the same qualifying group as the French for the 2018 World Cup – five conceded, no goals, zero points, and no World Cup was the outcome for the Dutch when they last tackled Didier Deschamps’ men.
The French in the Stade de France are hard to oppose here. Since the beginning of their World Cup 2014 qualifying campaign they’ve played 12 competitive games at the Saint-Denis Stadium and won 10, losing to Spain in 2013, and Portugal in the Euro 2016 final.
Ronald Koeman is still finding his way with a Dutch team in transition. They’ve failed to make the last two major tournaments and have suffered away defeats against Iceland, Turkey, Czech Republic, and Bulgaria along the way.
The French style is both pragmatic and suffocating; they can surrender possession for 90 minutes or control a game depending on the opposition. At the World Cup they dominated the ball against Belgium and Uruguay, and sat back once in the lead against Croatia. Similarly they allowed Germany possession this week without allowing any clear cut chances. The Netherlands are vaguely moving towards a more direct style under Koeman, however they’ll do well to create much against a typically parsimonious French defence.
France fielded their World Cup winning eleven against Germany with the exception of Hugo Loris in their first group game on Thursday. The Spurs ‘keeper is injured, as is usual deputy Steve Mandanda, third choice Alphonse Areola will breach the void again. Otherwise it’s likely to be as you were for the French.
Wesley Schneider is the obvious absentee from their friendly against Peru on Thursday. The 2-1 win was his international retirement send-off. His replacement on the night, Frenkie de jong, is much sought after in Europe and the Ajax playmaker can be expected to get a start tonight. Ronald Koeman fielded a strong side in Thursday’s friendly and with no fresh injury concerns, is likely to do the same in Paris this evening.
The French have contained more potent attacks in recent months, have recently done the double (to nil) over the Dutch, and with a front line boasting the likes of Kylian Mbappé and Antoine Griezmann, they should expect to find the net against the Dutch.
France to win to nil (7/5)