Netherlands face World Cup winners France with plenty to play for in the UEFA Nations League on Friday. Kick-off in Rotterdam is at 19.45pm.

Confidence is high around the Dutch national team at the moment after last month’s international period. A 3-0 victory in Amsterdam over Germany kick-started Netherlands UEFA Nations League campaign and that was followed up with a credible 1-1 draw at Belgium.

Ronald Koeman’s side was given little chance of avoiding relegation from this group when the draw was made but on Friday they can move to within one victory of winning it if they beat France.

However, that will be easier said than done against a France side still riding high from their World Cup triumph. Didier Deschamp’s side currently sits top of the group with seven points out of nine and can confirm themselves as group winners by avoiding defeat in Rotterdam.

A Netherlands victory on Friday would relegate Germany. A draw would mean Germany would need to win by three or more goals on Monday.

Team News

Koeman picked basically the same squad as last month but is without Arnaut Danjuma Groeneveld through injury. Hertha Berlin winger Javairo Dilrosun is his replacement and the 20-year-old could make his debut.

Against Germany and Belgium, Netherlands returned to a more conventional 4-3-3 and it is likely they will stick to that against France.

Possible Netherlands line-up: Cillessen, Dumfries, Blind, De Ligt, Van Dijk, De Jong, De Roon, Wijnaldum, Babel, Bergwijn, Memphis

France have plenty of injury issues heading into the clash with Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial, Alexandre Lacazette and Benjamin Mendy all forced to pull out. Deschamps is also without Thomas Lemar, Lucas Hernández, Corentin Tolisso and Kingsley Coman. Raphael Varane is in the squad but is said to be a doubt.

Despite the issues, France still have one of the most talented squads in the World at the minute and will field a very strong line-up in Rotterdam. Lyon defender Ferland Mendy and Borussia Monchengladbach forward Alassane Plea could make their debuts.

Possible France line-up: Lloris, Pavard, Sidibe, Varane, Kimpembe, Kante, Matuidi, Fekir, Griezmann, Mbappe, Giroud

Odds

Netherlands 21/10 Draw 13/5 France 11/8

Head to Head

Netherlands wins: 10 Draws: 3 France wins: 14

Netherlands are getting sick of the sight of France at the moment having faced the World Champions on three occasions recently that have all ended in defeat.

Earlier this year, France triumphed 2-1 in a narrow victory in Paris thanks to a late Olivier Giroud strike. Ryan Babel had equalised after Kylian Mbappe’s opener.

During the qualifiers for the World Cup, Netherlands lost 1-0 in Amsterdam before going down 4-0 in France. The last Netherlands victory over the French came at Euro 2008 in a great 4-1 group stage win. Since then it’s been five defeats in a row for Oranje.

A good start key for Netherlands?

Netherlands form recently has been very encouraging but one worrying aspect of Koeman’s side is their slow start to matches. Against Peru, France and Belgium recently, Netherlands have found themselves behind before the 15th minute. Even against Germany, Oranje were on the backfoot before turning it in their favour.

On Friday, it will be crucial for Netherlands to make a good start and not let France get a stranglehold on the game. The ferocious De Kuip crowd will be behind Netherlands from the start and a good start could be the boost needed to get a vital victory.

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