France vs Netherlands predictions: Les Bleus can edge entertaining Paris affair
- Both lost to eventual winners Argentina on penalties in last year's World Cup
- France have won five of the last six meetings between the two
- Recommended bet: France to win and both teams to score
Friday's standout clash in the European Championship qualifiers is undoubtedly France at home to the Netherlands as the two teams fancied to qualify out of Group B go head-to-head in what should be an action-packed showdown in Paris.
France were recent runners-up in the World Cup in Qatar, losing a sensational final to Argentina on spot-kicks, who had earlier also knocked the Dutch out on penalties in the last eight.
The visitors have Ronald Koeman back in charge, who succeeds Louis van Gaal in the job.
The former Everton and Southampton boss returns for his first game back leading Oranje, a role he held between 2018 and 2020 before joining Barcelona.
The Netherlands have been hit with a virus infection ahead of the clash, with Sven Botman, Cody Gakpo, Matthijs de Ligt, Joey Veerman and Bart Verbruggen all being forced to withdraw from the squad.
Bayern Munich midfielder Ryan Gravenberch, Inter Milan defender Stefan de Vrij and Vitesse Arnhem goalkeeper Kjell Scherpen have been drafted in as replacements.
The Dutch will be under-strength as, before the late withdrawals, Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong and Ajax's Steven Bergwijn had also pulled out of the squad with injuries.
France have injury problems of their own with William Saliba, N'Golo Kante and Wesley Fofana all ruled out, while Karim Benzema, Raphael Varane and Hugo Lloris all announced their retirement from international football following the World Cup.
Mike Maignan is tipped to start in goal ahead of Alphonse Areola and Brice Samba, while Eduardo Camavinga could feature in an unfamiliar left-back role for the hosts.
Following their run to the World Cup final, France are third in FIFA's world rankings, two places above the Dutch.
The two countries have met six times in the last nine years, with France winning five of those games.
The Netherlands' only victory in that period was the last time these two countries faced each other, the Dutch triumphing 2-0 in a Nations League clash in November 2018.
Aside from the eventual World Cup final loss to Argentina on penalties, Les Bleus have lost four of their last 12 games.
Netherlands' only defeat in their past 20 matches is their shootout loss to Argentina in Qatar.
Their record in the 19 preceding games reads: won 14, drew five.
France have a good record against the Dutch but the Netherlands won the most recent meeting between the two and there is evidence to suggest — despite Les Bleus run to the World Cup final — that the visitors have been more consistent side in the past 12 months overall.
However, despite some injuries, France still have a squad littered with top-class talent with the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Aurelien Tchouameni and Eduardo Camavinga and the home side can edge it.
The Netherlands' chances of a win have been hit by injury and illness in the build-up but they also still possess plenty of quality and experience in the shape of Virgil van Dijk, fit-again Georginio Wijnaldum and Memphis Depay — to name just three — and they can more than play their part in Paris.
It would not be a surprise to see both teams on the scoresheet, as the Dutch have registered at least one goal in each of their last 20 games with their last blank coming in a 2-0 defeat to Czech Republic in June 2021 in the delayed Euro 2020 tournament.
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