Netherlands get their UEFA Nations League campaign underway with a daunting trip to World Champions France on Sunday evening. Kick-off in Paris is 7.45pm. 

After missing out on two tournaments in a row, Netherlands bid to reach Euro 2020 begins with the UEFA Nations League, but Ronald Koeman’s side face a difficult task after being drawn with World Champions France and major rivals Germany.

First up is a trip to Paris, where Netherlands will once again come up against France, who beat Oranje home and away during the World Cup qualifiers.

Ronald Koeman’s side warmed up for the tie with a 2-1 win over Peru on Thursday night in a match which celebrated Wesley Sneijder. The game started poorly for Oranje who went into the break behind before two Memphis Depay goals in the second half turned it around.

Koeman was happy with the win but knows they need to improve against France, “We know that it can and should be done better, but I see a clear upward trend. We have definitely improved, also in the way of playing.

“We will have to play compactly and have to be very good. Everything has to be right. If we made mistakes as in the beginning of the game against Peru, or even immediately after the break, then against these kinds of opponents. It is over and out “

On the challenge of playing the World Cup champions, Koeman added, “It is special to play against the world champion. They have won the tournament deservedly, that is a great achievement. But that is history, it has been, that does not count anymore. What has happened in the past has no value at all.”

While Netherlands were beating Peru, France began their UEFA Nations League campaign with a 0-0 draw in Germany. Didier Deschamps will be hoping for a victory over Netherlands which would put them in a commanding position at the top of the group already.

Team News

Wesley Sneijder has dropped out of the squad following the win over Peru, with Davy Propper set to replace him in the starting line-up. According to AD, Frenkie de Jong is also set to make his first start in place of Davy Propper.

Possible Netherlands line-up: Cillessen, Tete, Blind, De Ligt, Van Dijk, Wijnaldum, Jong, Propper, Babel, Vormer, Memphis

France manager Didier Deschamps has an embarrassment of riches at his disposal with Ousmane Dembélé, Nabil Fekir, and Corentin Tolisso some of the superb players that will be on the home side’s bench. Missing from the squad is the injured Hugo Lloris.

Possible France line-up: Areola; Pavard, Varane, Umtiti, Hernandez; Pogba, Kanté; Mbappé, Griezmann, Matuidi; Giroud


France 4/9 Draw 10/3 Netherlands 6/1

Previous Meetings

The two nations have met 26 times since their first encounter in 1908 with France winning 13 times, Netherlands 10 and only three games ending in a draw.

France have won the last four games, including two during the World Cup qualifiers. A 1-0 win in Amsterdam thanks to a Paul Pogba goal was followed up by a 4-0 hammering in Paris.

Netherlands last win was that glorious 4-1 win at Euro 2008 but you would have to go back to 1936 to find the last time, Oranje triumphed in France.

Can Netherlands get a good result?

Despite Koeman saying he was happy with the performance against Peru, Netherlands were not good in the first half and were lucky not to be more than 1-0 down at the break. Against France, it has to be much better all over the pitch, but even then it may not be enough against such a strong side.

France have strength all over the pitch and unless they have a total off day it is difficult to see how Netherlands can come away from Paris with a draw, let alone a victory. Koeman will be hoping to see a good performance, though, and fans of Oranje will be keen to see more from Frenkie de Jong, who changed the game against Peru.

It is a new era for the Dutch national team with plenty of talents ready to come into the side. Against France it will be interesting to see how this side shapes up.

Michael Bell (67 Posts)