After the unexpected defeat in Sweden, les Bleus had to show a different face against a Dutch squad regenerated by the arrival of a new coach and the return of some famous oldies.
That game was crucial for both teams; France needed the three points to stay in touch with Sweden and Holland to secure a second place in the A group.
France were playing in their garden, the Stade de France, where 80K fans(minus 2K Dutch) were on fire from start to finish. The French started the game by dominating immediately their opponent and scored their first goal after a classic one-two between Giroud and Griezmann (14th). The sending off of Kevin Strooman (62nd) undoubtedly helped the hosts and Thomas Lemar made the break scoring a wonder goal (73rd) .
Afterwards, there was only one team on the pitch; the French were dominant and sealed their victory by scoring a third by Lemar (again!)netting a nice pass from Griezmann (88th) and icing on the cake, a fourth by the new PSG’s signing, Kylian Mbappé( 90+1)
Nevertheless, Didier Deschamps has still work to do; the french attack is almost perfect but the same can’t be said about the squad’s defense. Fortunately for les Bleus, the Oranje’s attack was almost invisible and they didn’t take advantage of the hosts’ laxity, but other teams will. Playing against a ten man team made the game easier but it’s not acceptable to watch some of the french defenders sleepwalking on the pitch.
Kylian Mbappé, Antoine Griezmann, Ngolo Kanté were decisive, but the Monegasque Thomas Lemar was brilliant; he cast away all the rumors about a late transfer to Arsenal and delivered several very good/excellent balls to his teammates and if his comrades were more accurate the final score could be a tennis one ! He scored two, one “easy” another one excellent/ brilliant; ( it’s not easy to find the correct superlative!) Man of the Match !
Would France be that good, if they had played the famous Oranje, that golden generation of Cruyff, Gullit and Bergkamp? Holland’s current squad are a pale imitation of their famous past: Sneijder should retire(too old) and what about Van Persie+ Robben? Will they be fit enough to play the World Cup, if they qualifie? A year it’s too long for players who are approaching, (or not) an early retirement ! There’s of course some youngsters but is it sensible to give them that burden, one may wonder…
HERE’S THE PLAYERS RATINGS
FRANCE: Lloris 5,5/10 Kurzawa 5,5/10 Umtiti 6/10 Konscielny 6/10 Sidibé 6/10 Lemar MOTM 8,5/10 Kanté 8/10 Pogba 7,5/10 Coman 7/10 Giroud 6/10 Griezmann 7,5/10
NETHERLANDS : Cillessen 4/10 Fosu- Mensah 6/10 De Vrij 3/10 Hoedt 4/10 Blind 3,5/10 Wijnaldum 3/10 Strooman 2/10 Sneijder 3/10 Robben 5/10 Promes 4/10 Janssen 2,5/10