Netherlands chances of reaching the World Cup in Russia are hanging by a thread after a miserable 4-0 defeat to France in Paris.

Dick Advocaat spoke of a game plan to get a good result in Paris to keep Netherlands chances of automatically qualifying for the World Cup alive. Timothy Fosu-Mensah earned his first cap in a 4-3-3 formation which saw Vincent Janssen start over Robin van Persie.

However, from minute one in Paris, France dominated the play and deservedly took the lead on 14 minutes with Antoine Griezmann carving open the Dutch defence with a one-two before slotting past Jasper Cillessen.

France continued to dominate after the opener but could not find a second goal with Cillessen keeping out efforts from Paul Pogba and Kingsley Coman. At the other end, Netherlands didn’t even get close to an equaliser and Advocaat reacted at half time by switching Wesley Sneijder for Tonny Vilhena.

The substitute didn’t have an effect as France remained superior at the start of the second half. Robin van Persie was being called from the bench but moments before coming on, Kevin Strootman was shown his second yellow card for a soft challenge on Griezmann. Strangely with ten men, Netherlands got their best chance of the game, but with a free header, Arjen Robben couldn’t hit the target.

Eventually, Thomas Lemar added a second for France with a sublime strike from the edge of the box which flew into the top corner. The Monaco winger added a late third after a swift counter attack, before substitute Kylian Mbappe sealed a miserable night for the Netherlands.

The only good news for Advocaat is that Bulgaria beat Sweden in Sofia, which means Netherlands will still clinch second and a possible play-off spot should they win all their remaining three games.

However, playing like this, wins over Sweden and Bulgaria looks far from possible. Netherlands host Bulgaria on Sunday in what is now a do or die game.

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