France scrape past Netherlands
Posted: 9 September 2018 Time: 09:51 pm
World champions France edged out the Netherlands 2-1 in an UEFA Nations League encounter in Paris on Sunday.
The French nearly went ahead in the opening minute, as Kylian Mbappe went one-on-one with the defence to draw a save from Jasper Cillessen.
If there was any lesson to be learned from the French side that to never give them any opening, which the Dutch did after failing to pick Mbappe who tapped home a cross from Blaise Matuidi after 14 minutes.
The Netherlands were shell-shocked, and were almost pushed back further by a sliding effort at the far post from Lucas Hernandez on 18 minutes.
It was all the French at the half way point, with the visitors proving to be no menace in attack with their patient build-ups from the back.
There was to be a sign of promise for the visitors after appealing for a penalty with Georginio Wijnaldum brought down, but the officials from Germany rejected the protest after 32 minutes.
The newly-crowned World champions still kept the all-round control, and their second nearly came with Olivier Giroud trying to back-flip a header into the bottom corner.
There was no changes from either side at the break, but both were surely going to get stuck into it in the second stanza.
Mbappe found space outside the box after creating space for himself to take a shot which raised over the crossbar after 51 minutes played.
France made their change, bringing off Hernandez for Manchester City’s Benjamin Mendy on 62 minutes.
Four minutes later, Wijnaldum wasted a great chance to draw level after breaking into the box but his sliding effort went over the top.
The Oranje then equalised a minute later when Ryan Babel notched home a cross from Tete down the right past an advancing Alphonse Areola.
The Dutch fired in another warning signal, as Memphis Depay went into the side-netting from a wide angle on 70 minutes.
Within five minutes, the champions reimbursed their lead through the boot of Giroud, ending his drought for France with a brilliant volley off a cross from Mendy.
The two-time World Cup finalists searched for a way back late on, but was unable to breach Les Blues solid backline to end off on the losing front.