Ronald Koeman believes the Netherlands national team are stronger now than when they faced France in the Euro qualifiers.

During the qualifiers, France got the better of the Netherlands twice with the last clash a 2-1 win in Amsterdam for Didier Deschamps side.

Asked at his press conference, what had changed since that game, Koeman said, “Hard to say. We hope to prove that tomorrow. I think the situation is different anyway. Also because of the fact that we have now had a reasonable preparation.

“We’ve played exhibition matches and been able to train more than usual. We have been able to work more on the system, so there will undoubtedly be a better Dutch team than then.”

Whether or not Kylian Mbappe plays on Friday does not change Koeman’s plans for the match, “I think Deschamps knows whether he’s playing or not. We have to wait and see. But France is so strong that if he doesn’t play there is another who is also very good. To be honest, I didn’t deal with that, because we have no influence on that. The idea of us heading towards tomorrow does not depend on whether Mbappe is playing or not. We know how good and decisive he can be, he was in the last qualifying match in Amsterdam. But that doesn’t change how we enter the game.”

Koeman is wary of the French power on the counter attack and doesn’t want his side to be as open as against Poland, “The lesson of Poland is that we have to play at a high level not sixty minutes but ninety minutes. That we also have to be very patient. Where do you suffer or do not suffer ball loss? That is often the difficult thing: you want to play with courage and guts, then you can create something. But you will always have to keep in mind: how am I defensive? What happens if we lose the ball here? How are we then? So of course that is many times more important (against France) than it was in the first game, because of the changeover and the speed of the opponent’s players.”




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