Koeman once defeated Deschamps on a magical evening

The Dutch national team continues the group stage of the European Championship on Friday evening with a clash against France. Voetbal International looks ahead to the match in Leipzig with facts and figures.

SoccerDino, Website Writer
Published: 10:43, 21 Jun 2024

On Friday evening, Oranje will try to match their performance from EURO 2020 by winning their first two group matches.

At that time, the Netherlands went through the entire group stage flawlessly. However, the opposition on Friday is of a completely different caliber than three years ago (Ukraine, Austria, and North Macedonia): the Netherlands will face the vice-world champion, France.

Normally, a draw would be sufficient for the Netherlands to reach the Round of 16. In this EURO format (where sixteen out of 24 countries advance), four points are almost always enough to secure a place in the next round. As is well known, France also started the EURO with a victory: Austria was defeated 1-0.

This will be the 31st time that the Netherlands and France face each other. Oranje has triumphed eleven times, Les Bleus have been the strongest fifteen times, and four meetings have ended in a draw.

On Sunday, the Netherlands finally won another European Championship match on foreign soil. The last time this happened was in 2008 against Romania. In 2012, Oranje lost all their matches, in 2016 the Netherlands did not participate, and in 2021 Oranje only won on Dutch soil; the group matches were held in Amsterdam.

France has won seven of the last eight encounters, including the last two. These were matches in the recent EURO qualifiers. In Paris, the score was 4-0, and in Amsterdam, the French won 2-1.

In EURO tournaments, the Netherlands and France have clashed three times. During the quarterfinals of EURO 1996, Les Bleus triumphed after a penalty shootout. Four years later, the Netherlands won 3-2 in the group stage (both countries advanced), but the sweetest revenge for EURO 1996 took place during EURO 2008. The Netherlands won 4-1 in the first round. Oranje advanced to the last eight, while France was eliminated in the group stage.

For the sixth time, Oranje will play in the Red Bull Arena in Leipzig, formerly known as Zentralstadion. The last time was in 2006 during the World Cup in Germany, where the Netherlands defeated Serbia and Montenegro thanks to a goal from Arjen Robben.

Memphis Depay and Georginio Wijnaldum are the only players in the current Oranje squad who have scored against France. Both players, now in their thirties, have scored once against Les Bleus in six encounters.

Wijnaldum and Memphis scored these goals during the famous Nations League victory over France. On November 16, 2018, it was 2-0 at De Kuip. Ronald Koeman and Didier Deschamps were also the head coaches then.

Will he play or not? Kylian Mbappé broke his nose on Monday against Austria. The 25-year-old world star has often been a tormentor for Oranje in the past, scoring six times in five internationals against them. Nine players have scored more goals against the Netherlands, almost all of them before World War II.

Joey Veerman is the only Oranje player on a yellow card warning. The midfielder received a yellow card against Poland on Sunday. Two yellow cards lead to a suspension in the European Championship.

This crucial match against France will also be a test of tactical acumen for both Ronald Koeman and Didier Deschamps. Koeman, known for his strategic flexibility, will need to devise a plan to counteract France’s attacking prowess, especially considering the potential threat posed by Mbappé, if he plays. Mbappé’s pace and skill have been a constant challenge for defenses worldwide, and his record against the Netherlands is a testament to his ability to exploit defensive weaknesses.

On the other hand, Deschamps will be aware of the attacking threats within the Dutch squad. Despite recent criticisms, Memphis Depay remains a key player capable of changing the game’s dynamics with his creativity and finishing. Georginio Wijnaldum’s experience and ability to make late runs into the box add another layer of complexity for the French defense to handle.

Historically, matches between these two footballing nations have produced some memorable encounters, and Friday’s clash promises to be another thrilling chapter. The tactical battles, individual duels, and historical context add to the intrigue surrounding this fixture. Both teams will be keenly aware that a positive result could set the tone for the rest of their tournament, potentially making this one of the standout matches of the group stage.

The anticipation is palpable as fans and pundits alike look forward to seeing how these narratives unfold on the pitch. Will the Netherlands continue their quest to replicate their EURO 2020 group stage success, or will France’s recent dominance in this fixture persist? Only time will tell as both teams prepare for what promises to be a high-stakes encounter in Leipzig.

Updated: 10:43, 21 Jun 2024