Resilient Netherlands Looking To Upset Talented, Injured France Team


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Resilient Netherlands looking to upset talented France team

The Netherlands and France are level on points at the top of Group D after both teams won their opening games of Euro 2024. The Dutch overhauled a one-goal deficit in their 2-1 victory over Poland, and France then battled to a 1-0 win against Austria. They will now vie for supremacy in their group when they meet at the Red Bull Arena in Leipzig on Friday.

France may have a psychological advantage, as Les Bleus beat the Netherlands home and away during the qualifying campaign. However, they were not at their free-flowing best against Austria on Monday, and they may also be missing star player Kylian Mbappé. Meanwhile, the Dutch players will be buoyant after beating Poland in dramatic fashion, so this promises to be an intriguing game.

Netherlands vs. France updated lines

Netherlands vs. France player props

Netherlands Might Have To Unleash Wout Weghorst to Win

Striker Wout Weghorst continues to relish his role as an impact substitute for the Netherlands. He came off the bench to score twice against Argentina at the 2022 World Cup, and he produced more late heroics at the weekend.

The Dutch were struggling to find a winning goal against Poland’s well-drilled defense, so they brought on Weghorst to replace Memphis Depay. He had been on the pitch for just 2 minutes and 18 seconds when he latched onto Nathan Aké’s pass and fired a low strike past Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny in the 84th minute. Weghorst is a traditional center-forward, who offers a very different threat to Depay and Cody Gakpo, and he could be dangerous if he enters the fray in the second half of this game.

France Path To Victory Likely Includes Antoine Griezmann

France captain Kylian Mbappé had an eventful evening against Austria on Monday. He played an instrumental role in the only goal of the game, as Austrian defender Maximilian Wöber headed Mbappé’s cross past his own goalkeeper. However, Mbappé then missed a glorious chance to make it 2-0, and he was later substituted after breaking his nose in a collision with Kevin Danso.

Mbappé will not need immediate surgery, but we do not yet know whether he will recover in time to face the Netherlands. If he does not make the starting XI, the onus will be on fellow forward Antoine Griezmann to grab the bull by the horns on Friday. The forward lit up La Liga with 16 goals and six assists last season, and he has the quality to unlock the Netherlands’ solid defense.

Netherlands expected starting 11

Bart Verbruggen will start in goal for the Netherlands. Manager Ronald Koeman is likely to stick with the same back-four that faced Poland: Nathan Aké, Virgil Van Dijk, Stefan de Vrij, and Denzel Dumfries. That means there will be no place for Jeremie Frimpong, although he can play a key role if he comes off the bench in the second half.

Joey Veerman struggled against Poland in the first half, so Koeman may decide to bring in veteran Georginio Wijnaldum or youngster Ryan Gravenberch alongside Jerdy Schouten in midfield. Frenkie de Jong is out of the tournament with an injury. We should then see Cody Gakpo, Tijani Reijnders, and Xavi Simons behind Memphis Depay in attack, with Donyell Malen and Wout Weghorst left on the bench.

France expected starting 11

France did well to keep a clean sheet against Austria, so manager Didier Deschamps is unlikely to change the defense. Mike Maignan will start in goal, with Jules Koundé on the right, Dayot Upamecano and William Saliba in the middle, and Theo Hernández on the left. Adrien Rabiot and N’Golo Kanté started in midfield against Austria, with Real Madrid duo Eduardo Camavinga and Aurélien Tchouaméni on the bench.

Griezmann will play in the No. 10 role. Marcus Thuram and Ousmane Dembélé both looked pretty lively against Austria, so they could keep their places on the wings. If Kylian Mbappé is unable to play in this game, Randal Kolo Muani or Olivier Giroud could lead the line in attack.

Photo by Associated Press