Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Dutch revival downs French as Germany drop down in the Nations League

Netherlands 2-0 France: Dutch beat world champions to relegate Germany Deschamps wary of Dutch's dynamo De Jong
Kristopher Love | 19 November, 2018, 06:27

Should the Dutch avoid defeat in Gelsenkirchen, they will progress to next June's Nations League finals at France's expense.

"We have players with exceptional technical experience and also power and speed".

It was a first defeat for France following their World Cup success in Russian Federation and, without a string of Lloris saves, the scoreline would have been even more emphatic.

Ronald Koeman's Holland will pip France to a Nations League semi-final spot with either a draw or a victory over Germany on Monday, after having won the first encounter 3-0 in Amsterdam last month. "This win shows the spirit of the team, the quality of the players we have", said Depay. We were very, very good.

Conceding just before the break was a psychological blow to France and things got worse after the re-start, with the inspired hosts flying forward in pursuit of more goals and only the sure reflexes of Lloris prevented a rout.

The closest Deschamps' men came to scoring was a weak 10th-minute header from Antoine Griezmann, who was otherwise anonymous alongside the equally invisible Kylian Mbappe.

Midfielder Leon Goretzka admits they have to move on swiftly from their drop into League B and end their year on a high note against Ronald Koeman's resurgent side.

"It shows that we have a bright future, we have to continue like this".

Memphis Depay and Georginio Wijnaldum threatened the French goal in the early going before Les Bleus won back possession, almost taking the lead on a shot by Benjamin Pavard that went just over the cross-bar. "The score could have been even more flattering for the Dutch", said Lloris, easily France's best performer.

"We must challenge ourselves after this defeat and hope for a victory for Germany". Lloris was unlucky as Wijanldum stuck the first goal away after he'd made a fine save and there was nothing he could do about the Depay penalty.

It was only because of Lloris' heroics that France stayed in the game for so long.

However, De Jong, picked out by Deschamps on Thursday as one to watch for the Netherlands, helped his side seal the points when he was bundled down in the area by Moussa Sissoko with seconds left.

Depay said that the young team were on the right track.