France V The Netherlands, FIFA World Cup Qualifying (UEFA) Group A, Stade de France, 31st August 2017
France take on the Netherlands on Matchday 7 in Group A of UEFA World Cup Qualifying on Thursday and a win for Les Bleus would put the Netherlands in serious jeopardy of failing to qualify for a tournament that the nation has become synonymous. As well as finishing third last time round in 2014, the Netherlands have been runners up on no fewer than three occasions, but those days seem long ago for a team struggling to fill the void of departing greats. Indeed, the Oranje also failed to qualify for Euro 2016, so this is a fallow time for Dutch football, and another painful result in Paris would not be a surprise, especially considering the talent available to the home side.
Paul Pogba, Kingsley Coman, Kylian Mbappé, Anthony Martial, Antoine Griezmann and so on. In fact, France’s embarrassment of young riches is probably best summed up by the fact coach Didier Deschamps could leave out the second most expensive footballer of all time, Ousmane Dembélé, who has just signed for Barcelona for a fee believed to be up to €150m. The Netherlands, meanwhile, continue to rely heavily upon players who most would consider past their prime; Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Robin van Persie were fine players back in their day, but it would not be unfair to suggest that those days are now in the past.
Head-to-head, France have won 12 to the Netherlands’ 10, with three draws. France have also won the last three, including 2-0 the last time the two sides met in France in a friendly back in 2014.
In the meeting earlier in the group in Amsterdam, Paul Pogba scored the only goal, and considering this is the team who finished runners-up in Euro 2016 just a year ago against a team that failed to qualify, the omens do not look good for Dick Advocaat’s team, and unsurprisingly there is no value in backing France to win this game. So that is why it is instead worth looking to the handicap and France -1, which is 2.60 with Bwin.
The last game between these two finished 1-0 to France back in October, while the last game between them in France finished 2-0 to the hosts. Go Under 2.5 goals, which is currently best at 1.84 with 188bet
Paul Pogba anytime scorer is 5.00 with 188bet – he scored the winner when these two teams met in Amsterdam in October last year. He has also been in rich form for Manchester United so far this season.
Finally, looking at a solid outside bet is taking as a correct score, France 2.0, which is 7.00 with a number of bookmakers.
Two giants of European football meet in Paris on Thursday night, yet it is only one that has a firm eye on the future rather than one foot still stuck in the past. Until Dick Advocaat can start to bring through more young players with potential akin to what Didier Deschamps is achieving with France, then this lean spell for Dutch football looks set to continue. We must all therefore consider facing up to the disappointment of a World Cup in Russia without the entertaining Oranje.