France 4 - 0 Netherlands: as it happened, goals, match report
France 4 - 0 Netherlands: match report
Wesley Hoedt frantically back-pedaled towards his own goal, and any doubt that this evening in Paris was all about Kylian Mbappé faded away. The 18-year-old dipped inside and out, toying with the Dutch defence. He laid the ball to Sidibé on the right, held his run, and waited for the ball to come back to him. Of course, it did, and the man-of-the-moment scored his first goal for France as Les Bleus closed out a 4-0 win over the Netherlands.
As the ball nestled in the bottom corner, mere hours had passed since Mbappé officially signed for PSG on a season-long loan from Monaco. He has been the dominant thread of the transfer window tapestry, and he is back in his home city. He settled in quickly.
Beyond the glow of Mbappé, France took a significant step towards qualification for the 2018 Russia World Cup. This commanding victory, coupled with Sweden’s defeat in Bulgaria, leaves Didier Deschamps’ side three points clear at the top of Group A, with their goal difference nicely inflated.
The home side pin-balled their way in to the lead after 14 minutes with neat interplay between Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezmann. A one-two cut through the line of orange shirts, and Griezmann, with blonde hair bobbing in his wake, calmly stroke the ball through Cillessen’s legs and in to the net.
France were always dominant, always dictating the rhythm of the match. N’Golo Kante was typically omnipresent in midfield, granting Paul Pogba the time and space to orchestrate play. Griezmann and Thomas Lemar, who was subject to late deadline-day interest from Arsenal, fluttered around between the Dutch defence and midfield.
Dick Advocaat, at the helm of the Oranje for the third time, became increasingly irate on the touchline. His side lacked life. They are a faded shadow looking back at what they once were. The Dutch approach – passing to Arjen Robben in the hope that he would create something – was bland and predictable.
The 69-year-old coach removed Wesley Sneijder at half time in an attempt to rejuvenate the midfield, but Kevin Strootman’s second yellow card after 56 minutes abruptly stopped any realistic chance of salvaging a positive result. Strootman arrived late on Griezmann, whose pained reaction prompted the Italian referee to reach for his pocket.
France continued to relentlessly attack, but without a ruthless edge. That changed after 73 minutes, as the ball bounced out towards Thomas Lemar on the edge of the box. He caught it at knee-height with a crisp swish of his left foot, and it settled in the top corner.
Lemar showed no indication that his attention was elsewhere. He scored his second goal in the 88th minute, pinching the ball off Lacazette’s foot to poke it in to the bottom corner. France were dancing through the remnants of the Dutch defence, and Mbappé was the star of the show in his 15 minute cameo.
The result was highly significant. France take a huge stride towards Russia, while the Netherlands look condemned to miss another major tournament. But all that was dwarfed by the red-carpet homecoming of a smiling Parisien teenager.
France 4 - 0 Netherlands: as it happened
90'+3' Full time. A routine win for France, coupled with the fact that Sweden are losing in Bulgaria, means Didier Deschamps' team to a big stride towards the 2018 World Cup.
90'+1' GOL GOL GOL! Mbappé scores his first goal for France. He picks up the ball deep in midfield and runs at Hoedt, dipping inside and out. The defender is flummoxed. Mbappe then lays the ball out to the overlapping Sidibe, who lays it back first time. The new PSG signing, having held his run, receives the ball and strokes it in to the bottom corner. A lovely goal, and no doubt the first of many.
90' Ooof! Robben clatters the bar from a narrow angle. That looks like a spectacular reaction save from Lloris to deflect it ever-so-slightly upwards.
90' Griezmann takes his leave, with Fekir coming on for the last few minutes.
88' GOOOOOOL! France round it off in style. Three blue shirts jog towards Cillessen's goal after the Dutch over-committed in attack. Griezmann has plenty of time to pick out either Lemar or Lacazette in the middle. It's Lemar who dives to stab the ball home.
87' Lacazette picks up the ball on the right and drives inside. He pokes the ball to Griezmann, who returns it with a nonchalent backheel. Lacazette charges in to the box, but under pressure from Hoedt, his weak shot is smothered by Cillessen. France are now operating with a front three: Mbappe and Lacazette are either side of Griezmann.
85' Kurzawa, who is a ringer for hip-hop veteran Goldie, is booked for a foul on the edge of the box. Nothing comes of the free-kick.
84' Mbappe peels away from Fosu-Mensah on the right, allowing him to receive the ball and then run towards the right-back. He deceives the defender with a dainty flick of his right foot, and sends a low cross to Lacazette at the far post. It arrived at an awkward height, and Lacazette fouls Hoedt as he tries to get the ball under control.
81' A second substitution for France, with Lacazette replacing the industrious Coman.
79' Big, big chance for Fosu-Mensah, but he is not the man Dick Advocaat would have wanted in that position. Wijnaldum bustles well in midfield and lays the ball forward to Fosu-Mensah. Nobody can catch him as he charges in to the French box, but he slices his shot well wide. Up at the other end, Mbappe gets involved for the first time, dribbling around Hoedt and stinging the palms of Cillessen with a low shot towards the near post.
78' France are dancing now. Last ditch defending from the Netherlands keeps the deficit down to two, but only after some real pinball in the box. The ball bounces around, but doesn't fall at the feet of any French attackers. Eventually Kurzawa has a left-footed swipe, which arrows high and wide.
75' A change for France. Mbappe comes on to a roaring ovation. He takes Giroud's place.
73' GOL GOL GOL! Thomas Lemar hits a sweet strike in to the top corner from the edge of the box. He might not have got his move this evening, but he's got a scorcher under his belt. Hoedt's defensive header bounced out invitingly, and Lemar took advantage with impeccable technique.
68' Big chances at both ends. First for the Netherlands. Robben meets a cross from the left inside the six-yard box, but his header bounces back off the man on the line. It was heading wide anyway, a really sloppy miss. Blue shirts then flood forward, with Pogba finishing off the move deep inside the opposition box. He feigns a shot, cuts in, and with the 'keeper to beat from five yards... hits it straight at Cillessen.
67' France could really do with a second goal to close this game out. With the Dutch down to ten, Deschamps will be desperate for his team to put them to the sword.
66' Griezmann gallops free in the left channel after a through-ball from Lemar. He flashes the ball across the face of goal with Giroud in the middle. The Arsenal striker is sluggish, and the low cross evades everyone.
64' Netherlands replacement. Robin van Persie comes on for Vincent Janssen.
63' Griezmann gets up, and wafts the free-kick towards goal from 30 yards. It wobbles a bit in the air, but is staight down the middle and Cillessen parries it to the floor before claiming on the bounce.
61' Strootman is sent off! A second yellow for a foul on Griezmann, and the Dutchman is furious. As Griezmann sits cross-legged on the turf, Strootman gets right up in his face, saying things that you wouldn't repeat over the dinner table.
59' Vilhena is penalised for a foul on Giroud. With a bleach-blonde mohawk, he isn't going to escape the referee's attention for that sort of niggly behaviour. No card, but he's on the naughty step.
56' Strootman is booked for felling Kante in the middle third. He has no complaints.
55' Vincent Janssen, predictably, is offside as a ball comes through from midfield. He has times his runs awfully this evening.
53' Koscielny is down in considerable pain. Sorry, Arsenal fans, the night isn't getting much better. He got between Robben and the ball as the Dutchman was mid-shot, with the result that Robben hoofed him in the achilles. He's on his feet, but walking very tentatively.
51' Kevin Strootman finds his stride with a powerful run through the centre of midfield. The Roma man threads the ball through to Janssen, who stings a shot across the face of goal. But he hadn't held his line... the linesman's flag was at full staff.
50' Van Persie strolls out for a warm-up. Given the Netherlands' lack of attacking thrust so far, it may be worth a throw of the dice.
48' Janssen leaps to meet a corner at the far post, but the referee's whistle blows for some grappling in the six-yard box. In any case, the Spurs man headed over.
46' One half-time change for the visitors, with Tonny Vilhena replacing Wesley Sneijder.
46' The Netherlands kick off the second half.
More revealingly, France have had 8 shots to the Netherlands' 1.
Just under 60% of possession from France in the first half. Of that 40% of Dutch possession, I would imagine a fair bit is made up of passes between the centre-halves, Hoedt and de Vrij.
The selection of Wesley Sneijder isn't quite working. The veteran is struggling to escape the attentions of N'Golo Kanté, and that is making it difficult for him to whip out his needles and do some knitting between midfield and attack.
France are in the driving seat. They're in the driving seat, with the window rolled down, cigar in hand, and music pumping out. Griezmann's goal is the sole difference between the two sides, but while France have launched relentless waves of attack, the Dutch have looked thoroughly blunt in attack.
45' The referee blows the whistle as the clock turns 45:00.
43' France are well in control as half time creeps closer. The Netherlands look very nice stroking the ball around the back, but as soon as they try to make the transition from midfield to attack, it falls down like a house of cards.
41' Paul Pogba finds himself in joyous meadows space 30 yards out, and he rifles a shot towards goal, both feet leaving the ground. Cillessen gathers it well; it wasn't easy for the Barça 'keeper... a very bobbly one.
39' Paul Pogba spots the forward run of Coman and dinks the ball through to Bayern winger. He pulls out a sparkly bag of tricks before mis-hitting a cross towards Cillessen's front post. The 'keeper is alert and punches it behind for a corner. Hoedt heads it out as far as Coman, who mis-kicks again, looping it over the bar.
37' Griezmann and Kurzawa attempt some intricate play inside the Dutch box, but it doesn't stick and a goal kick is given.
34' The Dutch have looked fairly blunt. Apart from straying offside in the first five minutes, Vincent Janssen has done nothing. In fairness, he has received no survice whatsoever.
31' Kante and de Vrij thunder in to each other 25 yards out, and the ball squirms out to Coman. He jinks forward, cuts back on to his left foot, and tries to bend a low shot in to the bottom corner. The flight of the ball is a little to close to Cillessen, who smothers it as he drops to his knees. The Dutch 'keeper then does the classic 'exaggerated flopping on to the chest followed by quick looks around' routine. Page one of the goalkeepers' handbook.
29' Kingsley Coman bursts away from Promes, who is no slouch, on the right flank and cuts the ball back to Paul Pogba. His first-time strike gets caught between his feet and the big man resets for a second bite of the cherry. He looks for a bit of space deep inside the box, before laying it back to Kurzawa, who blasts it over the bar. 'Get your head over the ball', old boys in the crowd will undoubtedly have tutted.
27' Crucial interception from Fosu-Mensah. He cut in just ahead of Giroud to clear, with the striker poised to connect with Sidibe's cross on the volley.
25' Griezmann is buzzing around all over the place, his bleach-blonde hear bobbing behind him. The Atleti man is finding nice pockets of space between the Dutch defence and midfield. As his earlier booking shows, he is willing to fulfill his defensive duties, too.
23' Daley Blind reads the play well, as ever, to nip in ahead of Sidibe and play a nicely-weighted ball up the left flank to Promes. He slows down, expectant a shove in the back, and wins a foul just inside the French half.
20' Kante is playing on the left of the double-pivot with Pogba, which means he can cover Kurzawa's forward runs. Often, Kurzawa is charging forward on the touchline with Thomas Lemar drifting close to Giroud, almost as an inside-left, as it were in old currency.
16' Griezmann is booked for scything down Promes on the right. Very cynical, and as clear a yellow as you'll see. The Netherlands were midway through a fluid counter-attack, having brought the ball out well from their own box. With Robben and Promes on the flanks, the visitors will threaten when give space to skip in to.
15' Giroud takes care of the ball on the edge of the box and with his back to goal, plays it to Lemar. He shot deflects wide, and the men in orange clear at the second time of asking.
14' GOL GOL GOL! Griezmann and Giroud play a neat one-two on the edge of the box, setting the Atlético man through on goal. He keeps his calm, and slots the ball through Cillessen's legs from seven yards. Advantage France.
11' A very sloppy pass from Paul Pogba allows Sneijder to set up Robben for the away team's first meaningful foray forward. Robben ventures on to his right foot, and Umtiti, standing tall, blocks the cross with his shoulder just inside the box. Obligatory penalty shouts, a bit like the 'owzaaatttt' that you just have to try when playing cricket eventhough there is no hint of LBW, are ignored.
10' Thomas Lemar, who looks like he will be staying put at AS Monaco for another season, sees his cross deflect off de Vrij's shoulder and loop towards Giroud at the far post. The Arsenal striker charges in like a bull in a china shop, but the ball drops wide. Koscielny meets the corner, his header bounces in to the ground and in to Cillessen's awaiting palms.
9' Kurzawa is finding a lot of space out on the left flank, overlapping beyond Lemar. The quality of his delivery will be key for France.
5' The crowd roars at the Italian referee, demanding a penalty. Hoedt and Giroud were all over each other on the edge of the six-yard box. They're sometimes given, but in truth, it was difficult to tell who was fouling who. The Netherlands clear the corner, and on we go.
5' France are now beginning to find their va va voom. Kurzawa has played two teasing crosses in from the left, but de Vrij has positioned himself well to clear both.
3' The Dutch are playing it around nicely at the back. 'Golden' ages come and go, but some things remain constant. Eventually a long ball goes up towards Janssen, who is flagged offside.
2' A spell of head-tennis in the early stages. The teams exchange a good five or six headers before the ball falls for Kingsley Coman. He fails to bring it under control, and the Netherlands claim possession.
1' Off we go in Paris! Antoine Griezmann quite literally gets the ball rolling.
The referee is Mr Rocchi, all the way from Italy.
The French national anthem, La Marseillaise, booms out. It goes a little like this: "Do you hear, in the countryside, The roar of those ferocious soldiers? They're coming right into your arms, To cut the throats of your sons, your women!"
Out they come! The referee picks the ball up of the plinth in front of the tunnel with a rather flash, one-handed spin.
The teams are in the tunnel. It's not Manchester City, so there's no 'tunnel lounge' with gawping fans looking in on them.
The home fans are getting in to the swing of things in the Stade de France. Tricolores aplenty.
The Netherlands haven't beaten France since 2008, yet three players from the current Oranje squad found the scoresheet that day nine years ago: Robben, Sneijder, and Van Persie. Dirk Kuyt hit the other.
The initiative has swung back in France's favour in recent years. They have beaten the Netherlands in their last three meetings. The last of those was the return fixture of tonight's match back in October, when a goal from Paul Pogba was enough to secure a win for France.
Back in the infancy of international football, the Dutch very much had the upper hand. The Oranje won the first four fixtures between these two nations, including an 8-1 thrashing in April 1923.
France have played the Netherlands 25 times over the years. Les Bleus have won 12, drawn 3, and lost 10.
Antoine Griezmann starts in a 'little 'n' large' forward combination with Giroud. His former representative spoke to the press earlier this week about the 26-year-old's conscious change of image. It makes for interesting reading.
There are some experienced heads in that Netherlands line-up. Robben and Sneijder have 223 caps between them, while Van Persie on the bench has another 101.
Netherlands XI: Cillessen; Fosu-Mensah, De Vrij, Hoedt, Blind; Wijnaldum, Strootman; Robben, Sneijder, Promes; Janssen.
No Kylian Mbappé in the France XI, which was announced minutes after his move from Monaco to PSG was made official.
France XI: Lloris; Sidibe, Koscielny, Umtiti, Kurzawa; Coman, Pogba, Kante, Lemar; Giroud, Griezmann.
Just the one potential debutant in Dick Advocaat's Oranje squad. That's Donny van de Beek, who rather predictably, is a product of the Ajax youth system. The 20-year-old played ten matches in the Eredivisie last season.
There are two players in the France squad looking for an international debut: Presnel Kimpembe and Alphonse Areola. Both play for PSG, yet given that the latter is the third-choice 'keeper, he'll almost certainly have to wait. 22-year-old Kimpembe represented DR Congo at U20 level, but has since switched his allegiance.
Depending on the way France line up, they could have more left-footed players than right-footed. Umtiti, Kurzawa, Lemar, Griezmann, Fekir, and Giroud all favour the only foot that can be described as 'cultured'.
Florian Thauvin is back in the squad after making his debut against Paraguay earlier in the summer. Following an uninspiring spell at Newcastle, he is now back at Marseille and in the groove. Being the only natural right-winger in Deschamps' squad, he may well get a run out against the Netherlands.
Dick Advocaat is in the dugout for his third stint as manager of the Netherlands. He has had a further three additional spells as the assistant manager. Beyond his home country, Advocaat has managed the United Arab Emirates, South Korea, Belgium, Russia, and Serbia on the international stage. Now 69 and in the twilight of his career, he can certainly say that he has travelled.
The Netherlands are also implicated in the shenanigans. Tottenham are making a move for Fernando Llorente of Swansea, meaning Vincent Janssen could go to South Wales on loan. It's all a big spider's web of links and connections. Really, the window should have shut before this round of (crucial) World Cup qualifiers.
With both Thomas Lemar and (to a lesser extent) Kylian Mbappé shrouded in deadline-day uncertainty, Didier Deschamps will need to keep minds focussed on the match in hand. Mbappé appears to have confirmed his move from Monaco to PSG, which Lemar could be going to Arsenal, or Liverpool, or staying where he is...
And, as is now customary, there is no Karim Benzema either.
There's no Raphael Varane in the France squad to face the Netherlands: the Real Madrid man was originally called up, but an adductor injury saw him replaced by Stoke City's on-loan Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma.
Here's a not insignificant update on the future of the fine fellow below, who is in line to start this evening.
Why not get yourself started with a read of our France vs Netherlands match preview below? C'est maqnifique.
Good morning! Join us for the build-up to this evening's glamour World Cup qualifier in Saint-Denis!
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