France hosts the Netherlands at the Stadium de France on Friday for their opening Euro 2024 qualifying match, three months after losing the 2022 World Cup final.
Despite the heartbreak of losing the World Cup final, Didier Deschamps has extended his contract as manager until 2026. He has been tasked with rebuilding the French squad with a mix of fresh and familiar faces who can continue to compete on all fronts.
FIFA ranks France third in the world, behind Brazil and Argentina. Although they haven’t won the European Championships since 2000, their record in qualifying matches is impressive, having lost only one of their last 19 games. Their only defeat during this period was a 2-0 loss against Turkey in June 2019.
However, the French team faced a setback in their Nations League campaign last year, losing two of their three competitive matches at home. They were defeated by Denmark and Croatia in June, finishing third in the league and narrowly avoiding relegation from League A.
France Form (All Competitions): L W W W L
Under Louis van Gaal’s guidance, the Netherlands was considered the dark horse of the 2022 World Cup. However, they suffered the same fate as France, losing to eventual winners Argentina in the quarter-finals. Van Gaal has ended his third spell in charge of the team, with Ronald Koeman taking over for his second stint as manager.
Koeman’s previous two-year stint between 2018 and 2020 saw the team win 11 out of 20 games. The Oranje had an impressive 19-game unbeaten run in all competitions before losing on penalties to Argentina.
The team’s performance in the European Championship qualifiers has been mixed. They won 10, drew two, and lost seven of their last 19 matches over 12 years.
Netherlands Form (All Competitions): W D W W L
Kylian Mbappe, the Paris Saint-Germain forward, has been named the new captain of the France national team following the retirement of Hugo Lloris. Antoine Griezmann has been named the vice-captain, although there have been reports that he is unhappy with not receiving the captain’s armband.
Karim Benzema and Raphael Varane have announced their international retirement, while Wesley Fofana and William Saliba have withdrawn from the squad due to injury.
Unfortunately, Frenkie de Jong and Steven Bergwijn will be unavailable for selection as they have withdrawn from the 25-man squad due to injury. As a result, Donyell Malen and Joey Veerman have been called up as their replacements.
France’s expected starting lineup:
Maignan; Kounde, Konate, Upamecano, Hernandez; Tchouameni, Rabiot; Coman, Griezmann, Mbappe; Giroud
Netherlands expected starting lineup:
Cillessen; Dumfries, De Ligt, Van Dijk, Ake; Wijnaldum, De Roon, Berghuis; Depay, Weghorst, Gakpo
Head to Head
The two sides have played against each other 28 times, with France winning 14 of those games, losing 11, and drawing three.
Time, Date & Venue
Date: Friday, March 24
Time: 07:45 pm, GMT
Venue: Stade De France, Paris
Ronald Koeman will look to make tactical adjustments to his team and improve their attacking prowess. However, France is a formidable team with several world-class players, including the talented Kylian Mbappe, who will lead the team from the front.
France will have the edge in this match and will emerge victorious.