World Cup Qualifying: France vs Netherlands preview

Decisive match coming up in World Cup Qualifying Group A as France host the Netherlands at Stade de France in Paris on Thursday. France are currently second in the group table, tied on 13 points with leaders Sweden, while the Netherlands are third with 10 points. France won the reverse fixture 1-0 last year in Amsterdam, with Paul Pogba scoring the only goal of the match. France have won their last three matches against the Dutch, who have not beaten France since 2008.

France started their World Cup qualifying campaign with a disappointing goalless draw in Belarus, but then turned things around and secured four consecutive wins. However, their last qualifying match resulted in a 2-1 defeat in Sweden and that setback puts their qualification hopes in serious danger. They have to avoid defeat against the Dutch in Thursday's game but they could still fight for qualification even if they lose, even though things would get seriously complicated in that case. Left-back Benjamin Mendy won't play and will probably be replaced by Layvin Kurzawa.

Dick Advocaat's team face a major test on Thursday, a match that could see them bounce back into the qualification race or drop out of it for good. The Dutch started the campaign with a good 1-1 draw in Sweden, but then defeats at home against France and away in Bulgaria saw them drop outside of the two qualifying places. Only a victory in Paris would really put the Dutch in a good position to qualify, a draw would keep some feeble hopes alive, while a defeat would mean they would the 2018 World Cup on television.

Probable line-ups:

France: Lloris - Sidibe, Umtiti, Koscielny, Kurzawa - Kante, Pogba - Fekir, Griezmann, Lemar - Giroud

Netherlands: Cillessen - Veltman, Hoedt, De Vrij, Blind - Van Ginkel, Strootman, Wijnaldum - Robben, Janssen, Depay

My prediction: France to win 3-2.

Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:

France win - 1.57
Draw - 4.00
Netherlands win - 7.00

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Members Comments

  • Bulgaria sharpe


    France win - 1.57

    This were quite decent odds, Netherlands are nowhere near the team they were a few years back ..and the previous 25 years too.
    France will not have any problems qualifying from that group with Sweden looking good to take the second spot.

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