UEFA Nations League: Netherlands vs France preview

France are looking to secure top spot in UEFA Nations League Group 1, all they need is to avoid defeat against the Netherlands in Friday's match at De Kuip Stadium in Rotterdam. The reverse fixture was played in Paris and the French won it 2-1 with goals from Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud. That was the fifth consecutive win for the French against the Dutch in all competitions, the Netherlands have not won a match against France since the 2008 European Championships. Overall, France have won six of the last ten direct encounters in all competitions, while the Dutch have won just three.

The Netherlands are still in with a chance to win Group 1 and qualify for the next phase of the UEFA Nations League, but they need to beat France on Friday and then get at least a draw in Germany on Monday. It is quite a tall order for the Dutch, but they did prove good form in October when they defeated Germany 3-0 before securing a 1-1 friendly draw against Belgium. Even the defeat in Paris against France has shown good signs for the Dutch, they managed to score through Ryan Babel and came close to getting a point there. A defeat against France would put the Dutch in danger of finishing last in the group, which means they will get relegated to the second tier of the UEFA Nations League.

France are unbeaten in their last fifteen matches in all competitions, including last summer's World Cup, which they won. In the Nations League the French started with a goalless draw in Germany, but then defeated both the Netherlands and Germany 2-1 in Paris. Between those two victories they nearly lost a friendly game against Iceland, it ended 2-2 after the French scored twice in the final five minutes of the match. Head coach Didier Deschamps has plenty of injury problems ahead of this match, with Alexandre Lacazette, Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Benjamin Mendy all forced to withdraw from the squad. Central defender Raphael Varane is in the squad, but he hasn't played in any of Real Madrid's last four matches and might not be fit to be in the starting eleven.

Probable line-ups:

Netherlands: Cillessen - Dumfries, Ligt, Van Dijk, Blind - Roon, Wijnaldum, De Jong - Bergwijn, Depay, Babel

France: Lloris - Pavard, Rami, Kimpembe, Digne - Kante, Nzonzi - Mbappe, Griezmann, Matuidi - Giroud

My prediction: France to win 2-1, the world champions seem to find the way to the back of the net when it matters the most.

Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:

Netherlands win - 3.10
Draw - 3.60
France win - 2.37

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