A costly error from Maarten Stekelenburg gifted France a 1-0 win over Netherlands in the crucial World Cup qualifier in Amsterdam.

janssen-v-franceDanny Blind decided to stick with the 4-3-3 formation that worked against Belarus last week, putting Davy Propper in the side to replace Wesley Sneijder and pushing Davy Klaassen out wide. The coach hoped his side could dominate the ball and pick holes in the French defence.

However, the opposite happened as France controlled the game from the start and they created chances early on with Kevin Gameiro forcing Maarten Stekelenburg into a save after finding himself left alone in the box, while Virgil van Dijk had to make an excellent block to deny the Atletico Madrid striker. At the other end, Netherlands, who lost Quincy Promes through injury had their best chances from set pieces and a Memphis Depay free kick was just touched away from van Dijk. who would have prodded into the empty net.

After the win against Belarus, Blind lamented his defence for giving away too many chances, but he stuck with the same back five against France. On 30 minutes his decision not to make a change proved fatal as Jeffrey Bruma sloppily gave away possession in his half, which led to Paul Pogba picking the ball up unchallenged 30 yards out. The midfielder strode forward before unleashing a strike at goal which nestled into the net despite Stekelenburg getting a hand to it. Replays showed the Everton goalkeeper failed to move quickly enough across his goal to make what should have been a routine save.

Vincent Janssen was isolated for most of the first half but he was presented with an excellent chance after latching onto a poor backpass by Dmitri Payet. However, the striker took too long to shoot and his strike was eventually charged down by Koscielny, who looked to divert the ball away with his hand, but the referee denied the hosts a penalty. Most would now point out that the refusal for the penalty was the third decision to go against the Netherlands so far in this World Cup campaign after the wrongly disallowed goals against both Sweden and Belarus.

Shortly after the break Janssen made another chance for himself as he held off Varane in the box but he could only fire into the side netting. France should have then killed the game with Gameiro forcing Stekelenburg into a save, Griezmaann firing over the bar and Pogba sending a free header wide.

Blind threw on Bas Dost as Netherlands went long ball towards the end looking for an equaliser and in the last minute they got a chance when Janssen headed the ball into the box for Memphis to swing his leg at it, but the wingers strike was pushed to safety by Lloris. France then played out the last few minutes to earn themselves a crucial three points.

Netherlands now drop to third in the group after Sweden beat Bulgaria 3-0. Next up is an away tie against Luxembourg in November.




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