Ronald Koeman’s second era as Netherlands head coach begins on Friday evening with a tie against France. Kick-off in Paris is 19:45 BST.

The qualification for Euro 2024 begins on Friday for the Netherlands, which is in a group with Gibraltar, Greece, and the Republic of Ireland. First up though is their biggest test, France in Paris.

The game will be Koeman’s first in charge since he took over the head coach role from Louis van Gaal and he will be eager to get off to a good start. It is the first Netherlands game since the lost World Cup quarter-final against Argentina, who went on to beat France in the final.

Looking ahead to the clash, Koeman told his press conference, “We’re talking about a team that made it to the World Cup final, and won the World Cup before it. A very experienced team with great individual qualities, we played against them in two games in the Nations League. We showed in both games that we can beat them. We know where their strength lies: a team that plays compactly is dangerous on the counter. They have very good players on the ball, with a great player like Kylian Mbappé who can decide a game on his own. Then it’s up to us how we deal with it.”

Despite having a number of players missing, Koeman does not think Oranje has no chance, “It is clear that we are not playing with the team we would have had if everyone was fit, but I don’t see any less chance. Football is a strange game, and I am also confident that we can achieve a good result with this team. But Frenkie, for example, was important to the team, that makes sense.”

Team News

Ronald Koeman has already confirmed that the Netherlands will return to a 4-3-3 formation under his leadership. However, his line-up has been hit by a number of injuries and a virus, which took five players out of contention.

Netherlands will be without Frenkie de Jong, Steven Bergwijn and Teun Koopmeiners through injury, while Cody Gakpo, Sven Botman, Matthijs de Ligt, Bart Verbruggen and Joey Veerman are suffering with the virus.

If Daley Blind plays he will earn his 100th cap but it is likely to come from the bench as Nathan Ake seems set to be first choice left-back.

Lutsharel Geertruida and Mats Wieffer could make their debuts but Denzel Dumfries is suspended.

Possible Netherlands line-up: Cillessen, Geertruida, Ake, Van Dijk, Timber, De Roon, Wieffer, Wijnaldum, Berghuis, Simons, Memphis

After the World Cup, Hugo Lloris, Rafael Varane and Karim Benzema all retired from international duty but France still have one of the strongest XI’s in the world.

Kylian Mbappe will lead the attack as captain for the first time, while he will be partnered by Kingsley Coman and Antoine Griezmann.

Possible France line-up: Maignan; Kounde, Konate, Upamecano, Hernandez; Tchouameni, Rabiot; Coman, Griezmann, Mbappe; Kolo-Muani

Odds

France 17/20 Draw 13/5 Netherlands 16/5

Head to Head

The two nations have met on 28 times since the first meeting in 1908 with France winning 14 times and the Netherlands on 11 occasions.

The last meetings came during Koeman’s last time in charge as the two nations were in the same UEFA Nations League group. France won their home game 2-1 with Netherlands winning 2-0 in the reverse tie.

Can the Netherlands come away from Paris with a victory?

Koeman’s squad has been hit badly in the run up to the game and the loss of Frenkie de Jong, Cody Gakpo and Matthijs de Ligt is huge.

Nobody now expects Netherlands to get a result in Paris so the pressure is off a little going into the game. France will be keen to show themselves after losing the World Cup final and it has the makings of a difficult night for those in Oranje.

A defeat to start the campaign is not ideal but with the top two going through in the group, the Netherlands are still heavily favoured to qualify for the Euros.




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