France 2-1 Netherlands UEFA Nations League: match report

France 2-1 Netherlands UEFA Nations League: match report



A first half goal by Kylian Mbappe was cancelled out by a Ryan Babel strike before Olivier Giroud broke his international duck with the winner.

France 2-1 Netherlands: match report

It was a useful exercise for Netherlands in that they got the chance to see how far they have to go to to return to the heights they once reached as a football nation. In a game against a side that are as well-drilled and confident as anyone in world football at the moment, the Netherlands came up short.

It doesn't help that France have the most exciting young footballer in world football to make every attack a potential goalscoring opportunity. Kylian Mbappé was electric on a number of occasions but while they promised a lot, they rarely troubled Jasper Cillessen in the opening half.

The game threatened to explode on a number of occasions but that was due more to individual brilliance than either of the sides' managers tactics. Whenever Netherlands got close, and they levelled in the second half, France moved up a gear and kept the visitors at bay.

Mbappe scored the opener after 14 minutes when a Blaise Matuidi cross made its way to him at the back post after Olivier Giroud was tripped thus ending his hopes of a handy finish.

France looked dangerous at times for the remainder of the half but their bark was worse than their bite. Netherlands, on the other hand, never displayed either and had no focal point in attack blended with a wobbly defence: a drepressing combination.

They scored the equaliser in the second half through a red-headed Ryan Babel, a goal they deserved given their improved performance in the second 45. The ball from the right off the boot of Tete landed on his knee and he finished after 67 minutes.

Olivier Giroud, who had gone 807 minutes without a goal drove home from a Benjamin Mendy cross just eight minutes later to put the home side ahead again. Questions will be asked of Cillessen's goalkeeping, but not by Giroud. He was too busy breathing a sigh of relief after his recent goalles spell.

France's homecoming, their first game at the Stade de France since winning the World Cup, was not ruined by a pesky Netherlands side even though it looked like it might at various times in that second half. Babel and Depay were finally getting help from their midfield and overlapping wingers and were looking more ambitious themselves.

2-1 was how it ended, however, with the home fans bouncing in capital of France, the effects and good mood brought on by a successful summer still in the air.

Netherlands were increasingly organised with an attacking intent in the second half but France were more organised overall and with players like Mbappe, who was a thorn in their side all night, they have a game-changing attacker, who increases potency by just being alive and on the field.

At least they got to put their new squad and system under Koeman to the test and they found out plenty about themselves; flaws and all.

France vs Netherlands live online: updates

90'+4' GAME OVER! France win thanks to Giroud winner.

90'+4'   That was the chance. Areola gathers a dangerous through ball.

90'+3'   Last minute now. Can Netherlands even fashion a chance?!

90'   De Jong clatters Areola as he gathers a cross. Sore one. But he's okay. 

90'   We will have four minutes of added time.

90'   Into the last minute of normal time now.

88' Ryan Babel off for Luke de Jong.

88' Giroud is coming off for Dembele.

86'   Vormer is pulled back by Mendy in the penalty area. He wants a penalty. Not given.

85'   Netherlands can be much happier with this second half. But still can't find that second equaliser. 

84'   Good ball in from Blind again. France playing with fire here a little bit.

82' Janmaat on for Tete.

79' N'Zonzi on for Griezmann.

79' Pavard booked now for studs into Babel's calf off the ball. That should have been a red card. Reall nasty.

78'   Mbappe races clear with loads of space to run into. He sees his shot blocked as Netherlands somehow manage to get men back. 

77' Vormer replaces Promes.

75'   Really poor goalkeeping from Cillessen.

75' Giroud with a goal. Mendy with a killer cross and the striker absolutely buries it. Went through Cillessen's hands! 2-1 to France.

74'   Headed out by Blind. France putting some pressure on now.

73'   France corner.

73'   Three on two and Griezmann passes to Mbappe. He squares to Giroud and his effort is blocked before he falls in a heap on the ground. 

71'   Depay breaks free. He tries to square but it's cut out and he wins it again before his pass to Promes is overhit! Netherlands getting a rub of the green now though as they keep the ball. Ball sent in towards Babel. 

69'   Depay slam one into the side netting. Netherlands growing into this one as France drift away like flotsam.

67' Babel goal. 1-1. Ball in from the right and he knees it home. Mendy caught out on the left for France and he was playing catch-up as soon as the ball was sent in behind him.

66'   Wijnaldum chests down a pass and makes an angle for himself. He drives it wide with his right foot. It goes well wide in the end but that was a good chance.

66'   Depay links with Blind and he crosses but it's cleared. 

65'   Tete tosses Mbappe off the ball. No free. Mbappe not happy but Tete probably is. Throw for Netherlands. 

64'   Free for Netherlands. Lofted towards Van Dijk's noggin but it's too tall for him. Areola gathers confidently.

62' Lucas Hernandez makes way for Benjamin Mendy.

61'   Mbappe tries to win a corner but it's a goalkick.

59'   Mbappe races onto a ball down the right. He goes back to Pavard and he crosses. Taken down in the end by Pogba. shot from Griezmann but that's not going to trouble Cillessen.

57'   Wait. It wasn't a free. It was a goal kick. Giroud back up and ready for action.

57'   France move forward again. Giroud closed down by De Ligt and the slide is a little but too heavy for the ref and for Griroud's ankle. He is down injured and France have a free.

56' Griezmann nearly Wijnaldum's shorts off him. Lovely move from the Liverpool midfielder. Griezmann booked.

55'   Depay works the corner short to Babel and he plays it back to him. Cross is straight to Areola.

54'   Good move from Netherlands. Blind crosses and it's put out for a corner. 

53'   Depay arrives in on the left and tries a cross but Pavard has him well marshalled. Cleared.

52'   Babel with a cross and it's headed out. Matuidi gets to the rebound first and Tete fouls him. 

51'   Danger averted by Pavard. He drives forward and Mbappe gets it but his short, slightly selfish, is a mile over the bar.

50'   France make their way through Netherlands defence but they recover and clear. France have started better here again. Mbappe races through but he's offside.

48'   Pogba with about six stepovers in a second and clips one towards Griezmann but it's cut out by Netherlands. 

47'   Griezmann looks to send Matuidi through but it's picked off. 

46'   No changes for either side.

46'   We are back underway! 

    Doesn't look like there are any changes for France. Mbappe the last man out of the tunnel, sipping on some Powerade. Now we know his secret.

    Teams back in the tunnel. They're ready for the second half.

    Netherlands have issues all over the field. They haven't had a decent attack and are shaky at the back. They also can't get a hold of midfield at all. Not promising at all. Only positive is that France aren't more ahead.


45'  Half-time. Interesting game. The difference is Mbappé strike but France are the better side. Koeman has to be thinking of a change up front to give them a focal point.

43'   France trying to move forward but Netherlands snuff them out. Umtiti wins back the long ball.

41'   Ball over the top looking for Giroud. An awkward one for him as he was kind of turned around and couldn't really do much with it. He heads up into the hands of Cillessen. 

41'   Cillessen gets a hand to a ball that Mbappe looked like he might get to first. He hit the deck and wanted a penalty but really well timed save from the keeper. Mbappe is lightening.

40'   Pogba pass forward and Griezmann picks it up in the end. De Ligt with a foul. Not really much in that but he did put a hand across him, I suppose. 

38'   Mbappe with a nice move inside after good work from Griezmann and then Pavard. Netherlands survive another scare with Mbappe on the ball.

36'   De Ligt covers as the ball in behind for Lucas looks to cause problems. Umtiti wins the ball back from Depay. Really tenacious from the Barcelona defender.

35'   That's a decent chance for Netherlands. Ball crossed in by Blind and Tete sends it back from whence it came. Not sure what he was trying there. France win a throw in the end.

34'   Free now for France as Griezmann stands over it. Umtiti meets it with his head. He was up on a defenders' back and it bounces up kindly to Cillessen. 

32'   Wijnaldum with a nice move forward and he is tackled by Pavard. Really nice tackle too as it's a goalkick.

31'   Netherlands improving here. Still no threat in attack. Promes fouls Lucas to end their most recent spell of pressure.

30'   Depay versus Mbappe. Depay wins this round, the wily Dutchman. He buys a free as Mbappe clips his leg. Chance for Netherlands from the set-piece.

29'   Netherlands back on the ball. Tete out on the right and he sends it back into the middle.

28'   Babel moves forward. He gets a stroke of luck as the pass over his head and into his path hits his back and he controls it. He loses it soon after though. Netherlands have no cohesion in attack.

27'   Mbappe down the right this time and he squares. Griezmann steps over it and Giroud is just a yard to early as he overruns it. Out for a corner for France. Mbappe just makes every attack so dangerous.

26'   Cillessen organises his one-man wall. Griezmann clips it onto Mbappe's head and he heads it into the keeper's hands. Hint of offside before that anyway but saved anyway.

24'   Comes to nothing. Netherlands cough it up without even threatening France's goal.

23'   Netherlands still have it. Stade de France getting a little but antsy but the visitors haven't actually move forward to cause problems.

22'   Netherlands with a rare spell in possession now. 

21'   Tete and Promes link up and they want a free for handball but ref does nothing and France counter.

20'   Netherlands defence looks really fragile. France playing between their defenders and even though Netherlands are playing compact, there is still room between them.

19'   Griezmann with an absolutely perfect ball for Lucas and Lucas checks his run. He slides and misses the target. What a pass!

18'   France the better side here so far. They are holding the ball well but look dangerous at the same time. 

17'   Pogba with a stepover and a pass inside but Netherlands reject him. 

16'   Corner is way too high. France back on the offensive.

15'   Netherlands straight up the other end and win a corner. Wijnaldum puts Pavard under pressure and forces him to put it over his own endline.

14' Mbappe with the opener! 1-0 to France. Matuidi squares it to him and he pokes it over the line. Handy for France and that was pretty terrble from Netherlands across the board.

12'   De Jong does really well as he plays out from the back. He gets it back and lets one fly towards Babel but he's offside.

10'   Shot from Mbappe works out okay for Cillessen as he gathers into his chest. France are straight back up again and Lucas shoots but Cillessen saves again.

9'   Lucas fouled by Tete. Al very tight when France move forward. Netherlands clogging up the middle.

9'   France have pushed all the way up now and dominating possession. Netherlands quite compact.

8'   De Jong recovers and passes back to Cillessen. He launched forward but France win it back. 

7'   Pogba has his arm pulled back by Promes. Free as France continue to prode. Pogba clips one towards goal and he sees his pass headed out. 

6'   Griezman squares to Giroud. De Ligt covers and clears. France taking over this one slowly but surely.

5'   Griezmann pushes Tete out of the way as they fight for the ball. Free for Netherlands. 

4'   De Ligt under pressure from Matuidi now. He puts it out for a throw. 

3'   Netherlands on the ball now with Depay against Pavard. He crosses to Tete. Shot comes in and Areola dives but pulls his hands back as it wasn't going in. Promes with the shot.

2'   Mbappé breaks and he is faced up against De Jong. He leaves him for dead and shoots. Cillessen saves. Corner. Good lord, Mbappé is electric.

1'   We are underway! Babel is bundled over from the start. Netherlands with a chance to whip one in. Depay does and Griezmann heads away.

    Van Dijk and Varane up for the toss. A couple of world class defenders there for you. There's a buzz about this game. Two European heavyweights in a new league format. Netherlands' 3-5-2 versus France's 4-4-2. No matter how far the Oranje fall, they'll always be a massive draw.

    A usually jaunty number. La Marseillaise with a something special tonight as the fans sing it in the Stade de France. We are almost ready for action.

    Ryan Babel has dyed his hair red. 

    Thousands upon thousands of gold flags in the terraces. France have come to celebrate tonight.

    Netherlands ranked 17th in the world and France, as you might expect, are number one.

    France unbeaten in 12 games. Their last loss was a 2-3 loss to Colombia. in March.

    Just over 15 minutes to kick off now. 

    Koeman was praising these young players and it's hard not to see a very bright future for the Netherlands. In every line of the field from Van Dijk to De Jong and Depay in attack. Missing out on the World Cup might have jolted them out of their slumber too. The awakwening of a sleeping giant. Good test tonight for them.

    Griezmann appreciates the love from the crowd at the Stade de France.

    Stat from "France have won the last four meetings between the two sides and ran out 4-0 winners the last time they faced off. Kevin Strootman was sent off for the Dutch in that match."

    Interesting to see if France can control their emotions today. It's their homecoming after winning the World Cup. Deschamps even admits it might be hard to do so. "I've spoken to the lads a bout managing the emotions of this communion with the fans. Especially as, to give full respect to the Netherlands, we have a Nations League match to play beforehand," explained Deschamps, whose side can charge of League A's group 1 with a win over the Oranje. "It won't be possible to put the celebrations completely out of our minds - it will be pretty full-on emotionally - but we should make sure it's a great party by getting a win to kick things off."

    Men in suits. Deschamps and his staff watch his team warming up ahead of the Nations League game at the Stade de France.

    No awards to be handed out tonight but Griezmann and his teammates given theirs from the World Cup. 

    It's the exact same eleven as Deschamps picked against Germany. There was talk that Mendy might push Hernandez for a start at left-back but the Atlético defender has become vital in that France defence.

    Deschamps sticks with Olivier Giroud despite the fact that he hasn't scored in 10 matches. Deschamps says "it happens to attackers that they have a longer or shorter period where they are not always efficient." 

    De Jong starts for the Netherlands. He has been heavily linked with FC Barcelona but he confirmed he would be staying with Ajax after they made it to the Champions League.

    Ronald Koeman lost Sneijder, the last of a generation in the Netherlands, but Koeman is excited about the next crop of players coming through. "Of course, the generation with players like Wesley Sneijder, Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben was fantastic," he said. "Now, I still see a number of young players heading in the right direction. And that's a difference compared to a while back."

    France XI: Areola, Pavard, Varane, Umtiti, Hernandez, Pogba, Kanté - Mbappé, Griezmann, Matuidi, Giroud.

    Netherlands XI: Cillessen, De Ligt, Van Dijk, Blind, Propper, De Jong, Tete, babel, Wijnaldum, Promes, Memphis.


Hello and welcome to our live coverage of France vs Netherlands in the Nations League. Kick-off from Stade de France is a 20:45 CEST.

France vs Netherlands live online: preview

The Nations League continues on Sunday night with France, the World Cup champions, versus Ronald Koeman's Netherlands' side, who didn't even feature at the competition. The game kicks off at 20:45 CEST from Stade de France.

France team news:

Benjamin Pavard is likely to move out of Didier Deshcamps' starting eleven after taking a very heavy challenge from Anthonio Rüdiger with his studs, which the German defender has since apologised for. Meanwhile, Lucas Hernandez could drop out but Alphonos Areola, who was excellent in that 0-0 draw against Low's side, will likely keep his place. Chelsea's goalkeeping coach says Areola is better than Hugo Lloris and if he can repel Netherlands' attack and keep another clean sheet, he might just start a debate as to who should start in goals for France going forward.

Netherlands team news:

Ronald Koeman said France's World Cup is a "thing in the past" and counts for nothing now that it's over. His side beat Peru 2-1 with Memphis Depay scoring a brace in that game as the winger continues his good form. Wesley Sneijder retired after the game and says that Depay "showed everyone how good he is at the moment. I hope he continues this way. We gonna enjoy him in the Dutch team". Daryl Janmaat, Patrick van Aanholt and Stefan de Vrij are all in contention for a start but Depay will draw most of the attention from France's defence.