France fall to the Dutch
World champions France suffered their first defeat in 16 matches as they were beaten 2-0 in Rotterdam by the Netherlands, meaning UEFA Nations League qualification is out of Les Bleus' hands.
Friday, November 16, 2018
UEFA Nations League Group 1
Netherlands 2-0 France
Didier Deschamps' team lined up with the same defence that had struggled in the 2-2 friendly draw with Iceland last month and Les Bleus were on the back foot from the off as Hugo Lloris had to save well from Georginio Wijanldum (2').
After nervous beginnings, France were marginally improved and Benjamin Pavard (28') threatened to recall summer glory as he powered a half-volley goalwards that travelled narrowly over the bar of Jasper Cillessen's goal. Ronald Koeman's improving Dutch (44') made the breakthrough as Wijnaldum followed up after Lloris had made great save to deny Ryan Babel from close range.
France would have been expected to come out with renewed intent in the second half and yet the home team continued to threaten in a city where Deschamps had lifted the EURO 2000 trophy. Lloris (62') made a double save from Denzel Dumfries that kept the visitors in it.
The goalkeeper made two more stops from Lyon's Memphis Depay (73') and 575') and then was again brilliant as he kept out Frankie De Jong (90+4'). But then France substitute Moussa Sissoko fluffed his pass out from the back and when he tried to retrieve his error he brought down De Jong. Depay made no mistake from the penalty spot as he scored with an insouciant Pananka.
THE PLAYER: Hugo Lloris
That France kept the scoreline down was entirely due to their inspirational captain as the Tottenham goalkeeper managed to repel 10 of the 12 efforts the Dutch managed on target. Lloris was unlucky as Wijanldum stuck the first goal away after he'd made a fine save and there was nothing he could do about the Depay penalty.
THE STAT: 16
France hadn't lost in 16 internationals since falling 3-2 at home to Colombia.