It will be a battle between two European heavyweights as France square off against Netherlands at the Stade de France in Paris on Wednesday, March 5, 2014 (12:00 PM Pacific). It will be the first time the two sides will be meeting since Netherlands humiliated the French side 4-1 in the 2008 European Championship and the Les Bleus will certainly be looking to exact revenge this time around.
France nearly missed out on the World Cup after making a meal of their play-off clash against Ukraine in November last year. However, manager Didier Deschamps possesses a team full of stars and a win against a talented Netherlands side will be a great way for the French National team to start off 2014, given all their problems since their disastrous 2010 World Cup campaign.
Netherlands romped their way into the World Cup with an absolutely dominant display in the qualification rounds. Similar to France though, the Oranje also have to exorcise the demons following their pathetic display in the 2012 European Championships and manager Louis van Gaal will certainly be looking for a victory over the Les Bleus to gain momentum, heading into the World Cup.
Didier Deschamps has raised a quite a few eyebrows with his team selection for the clash, as there are a couple of surprise inclusions as well as exclusions. Uncapped left-back Lucas Digne has been picked over the experienced Eric Abidal, while the in-form Samir Nasri looks set to continue his time in the international wilderness.
The sensational Antoine Griezmann will make his international bow, while Porto’s Eliaquim Mangala has also been included. Superstar Franck Ribery and Mamadou Sakho seem to have shaken off injuries and have been included as well.
Louis van Gaal has certainly decided to experiment with his squad by calling up no less than five uncapped players in the form of Karim Rekik, Jeroen Zoet, Quincy Promes, Jean-Paul Boetius and Davy Klaassen.
Despite Van Gaal picking a very inexperienced side, he will be able to call upon the services of his stalwarts in Robin van Persie, Wesley Sneijder and Rafael van der Vaart. Talisman Arjen Robben misses out with injury, while Michel Vorm also did not travel due to an illness.
Last 5 Matches
19/11/2013 France 3 – 0 Ukraine (WCQ – Play-offs)
15/11/ 2013 Ukraine 2 – 0 France (WCQ – Play-offs)
15/10/2013 France 3 – 0 Finland (WCQ)
11/10/2013 France 6 – 0 Australia (Friendly)
10 Sep 2013 Belarus 2 – 4 France (WCQ)
19/11/2013 Netherlands 0 – 0 Colombia (Friendly)
16/11/2013 Netherlands 2 – 2 Japan (Friendly)
15/10/2013 Turkey 0 – 2 Netherlands (WCQ)
11/10/2013 Netherlands 8 – 1 Hungary (WCQ)
10/09/2013 Andorra 0 – 2 Netherlands (WCQ)
France vs Netherlands Prediction
Both Nations have suffered a fall from grace in the last couple major tournaments and two heavyweights of Europe will certainly want to put things right in the upcoming World Cup in Brazil.
France have been handed a relatively easy group in the World Cup, as Les Bleus will come up against Honduras, Ecuador and Switzerland. On the other hand, Netherlands will have to be at their best to qualify from a group consisting of Spain, Chile and Australia.
The friendly clash provides both managers a perfect opportunity to test out new tactics, as well as hand debuts to a couple a youngsters against quality opposition, which could prove to be invaluable during the World Cup proper.
The match will be a well-contested one and France should nick it, considering van Gaal’s experimental squad selection. I predict that the France vs Netherlands match will end in a 2-1 victory for the French.
France vs Netherlands Television
The France vs Netherlands match will be televised on ESPN 3 and Univision Deportes.
The France vs Netherlands game highlights will be uploaded as soon as the game ends.