UEFA Nations League Group A1 preview: Netherlands v France Tips – De Kuip, Rotterdam – November 16, 2018 – 19:45 BST
Netherlands v France Tips:
Bookmaker odds correct as of 15/11/2018 and subject to change.
In a cluster that has seen Germany already being relegated, the forthcoming UEFA Nations League (UNL) Group A1 return fixture between the remaining two teams, Netherlands and France, will be a mere formality.
France with 7 points from their 3 games look poised to top the 3-team table even if they lose to the Dutch at De Kuip, Rotterdam, on Friday night.
The hosts despite their assured progress to the next stage of the UNL, will want to settle scores having lost 1-2 to the French in Paris in October.
Didier Deschamps' side will miss the services of Manchester United pair Paul Pogba and the in-form Anthony Martial, both players being declared unfit after a medical assessment in Paris a couple of days ago.
Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette and Tottenham mid-fielder Moussa Sissoko have moved in to replace the United duo. But whether Lacazette will be able to start in the Netherlands clash is another matter, what with the French front-line already loaded with talent of the likes of Antoine Griezmann, KylianMbappe, Ousmane Dembele and Olivier Giroud.
Traditional powerhouse, Netherlands, who seemed to have lost their way in recent years (disqualification from the 2016 Euros and the 2018 World Cup) are witnessing green shoots of recovery under manager Ronald Koeman. The exit of ageing stars Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Robin van Persie has given way to young talent like Frenkie de Jong, Matthijs de Ligt,
Memphis Depay and Virgil Van Dijk. The results under Koeman are already beginning to show with the side having lost just one international outing out of the last eight.
The 3-0 win over Germany in a UNL Group fixture last month was a crowning moment with goals coming from Van Dijk, Depay and Georginio Wijnaldum.
Players like Marco Bizot and the 20-year Hertha BSC winger Javairo Dilrosun will be both looking to win their first international caps, while Roma star Justin Kluivert is among the surprise omissions.
The staring XI for the Dutch for Friday's game will be strong in all departments with the likes of Lyon and Besiktas strikers Memphis Depay and Ryan Babel leading the attack, Wijnaldum and De Jong marshalling the midfield and the very talented Van Dijk and Daley Blind bolstering the defense.
The French will have the incredible N'golo Kante and Blaise Matuidi playing behind the attacking combine of Mbappe-Griezmann-Dembele-Giroud. The defense will be in the hands of Real Madrid stalwart Raphael Varane, Atletico central defender Lucas Hernandez, world cup sensation Benjamin Pavard and the immensely dependable Hugo Lloris between the posts.
This will be the 28th meeting between these two and it's almost even stevens with the French having won 14 games and the Dutch 10 so far.
The results have produced a winner in almost all of the 27 games played till date, but the Rotterdam fixture could well end in a draw (Bet365 Odds* at 12/5) with both sides likely to score (Bet365 Odds* at 8/13).
*Odds subject to change correct as of 15/11/2018.
A lip-smacking encounter awaits lovers of the game at De Kuip on the evening of November the 16th.
Predicted line-ups for France XI: Lloris (goal); Pavard, Kimpembe, Varane, Hernandez; Kante, Matuidi; Mbappe, Griezmann, Dembele; Giroud.
Predicted line-ups for Netherlands XI: Cillessen (goal); Dumfries, De Ligt, Van Dijk, Blind; Wijnaldum, F. De Jong, Strootmanl; Promes, Depay, Babel.