The captain’s armband didn’t fight Mbappe and Griezmann. They tore Holland apart in 20 minutes


For the second day in a row, at the start of the Euro 2024 qualifying phase, UEFA is giving fans a gift. On Thursday in Naples, the British took revenge on the Italians for their defeat in the Euro 2024 final, and the day after, the 2022 World Cup finalists hosted the Netherlands. Both teams have in common the fact that only Argentina, led by the great Lionel Messi, managed to interrupt their progress in Qatar.

The main event in the Italian field is the choice of Kylian Mbappe as the new captain after the departure of Hugo Lloris from the national team. Didier Deschamps did not immediately decide on the owner of the armband. There was a possibility that Antoine Griezmann, in the event of a “wrong” choice, would announce the end of his international career, but the coach spoke to the Atletico striker and decided everything. Proof of this is the fact that these two built a goal already in the third minute.

For the Dutch, the change of head coach was decisive. Veteran Louis van Gaal left the national team and his chair was taken by former Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman. He changed the look of the Dutch substitute squad a lot, but stars Virgil van Dijk and Memphis Depay are still in place.


Deschamps’ team is, without exaggeration, excellent, and he manages the team superbly. Journalists talked for days about Griezmann’s disappointment with the status of vice-captain, and already in the third minute he started and completed the attack: he went to the tackle in the middle of the field, scratched the ball from his opponent and ran at a second pace under Mbappé’s pass from the left.

It took just five minutes, as Griezmann himself perfectly hung on from a free kick. The ball circled towards the goal along such a trajectory that Jasper Cillessen didn’t have the courage to go out the door and met the ball when it bounced off the ground into his hand. The goalkeeper didn’t have time to react, and the rebound was in favor of Dayo Upamecano, who only had to push the ball into the net. It was only the eighth minute…

Photo source: IMAGO

Koeman seems to want to bring Barcelona with him to the national team. The Orange were in possession up to 70% of the time but pushed the ball forward very hard, often rolling it into their own half. The French met the opponent with a central block and ran perfectly when they intercepted the ball. Already in the 21st minute, they brought the score in a big way: after another interception, Aurélien Tchouameni made a vertical pass from below, and Randal Colo Muani caught it and missed the ball to Mbappé. The newly minted captain easily hit Cillessen with a clear shot into the near corner.


Even against the background of recognized masters, I especially liked Colo Muani, who ousted Olivier Giroud, the top scorer in the history of the French national team, from the base. The guy thinks incredibly fast (the episode with Mbappe’s goal is brilliant), he sees the field perfectly, chooses the position very competently, calmly switches positions with Mbappe and Kingsley Coman and does not cover the blanket at all. Ed is fast, plastic, plays well in the background and has good technique with his long legs. Characteristics of the perfect striker, right?

Koeman sadly watched as the opponent ideologically dominated his team and tried to change the formation of the forward line. Depay went to the flank, and the position in the center was taken by the giant Wout Weghorst, who came out already in the 33rd minute (!) The Atletico striker really had more freedom, but he was further from the goal. And it was difficult for the Manchester United striker to prove himself, because there were a minimum of innings in the penalty area simply due to the fact that partners found it difficult to get into position for aimed passes on horseback.

Photo source: IMAGO

I’d like to believe that with the return of suspended Denbez Dumfries, the Dutch game will take on a more solid form. At his gate, he would hardly have had it easier than Lutsharel Gertrade, but in attack he would certainly have added dynamics and pressure to the team. I would also allow Koeman to switch to playing with three central defenders, because he can plow the touchline on his own as a fullback.


It’s hard to say what became decisive in the second half: Koeman’s substitutions or the predestination of the match’s outcome, of which everyone was aware. Probably, as usual in such cases, both. But the game has become fairer, less dynamic and interesting. The hosts made great counter-attacks a couple of times, the guests continued unsuccessfully to look for a way to the penalty Mick Menian, who claims to be Lloris’ successor.

The visitors, perhaps, should praise Jorginho Wijnaldum. In any case, against the background of partners. The midfielder managed to train from behind and support attacks, he himself found amazing positions and saw his teammates well, and even less often his teammates made mistakes in passing. I think it’s worth giving him a more balanced game after the break.

However, the vice-champions of the world confidently led the match to an even bigger victory (at the end of the meeting, Mbappe scattered everyone from the penalty area and drove the ball into the far corner, and Depay he couldn’t even beat Menyan from a penalty) and together with Greece (defeated Gibraltar) they led the table. They play Dublin in three days and the Dutch will have the opportunity to hone Koeman’s new style in Gibraltar.

European championship. Qualifying stage. 1st round

France – Netherlands – 4:0 (3:0)

Goals: Griezmann, 2-1:0. Upamecano, 8 – 2:00. Mbappe, 21 – 3:0. Mbappe, 88 – 4:0.

Wrong penalty: Depay, 90+5 (goalkeeper).

France: Menian, Kunde, Konate, Upamecano, Theo Hernandez, Tchuameni (Camavinga 77), Rabiot (C. Thuram 89), Coman (Diaby 67), Griezmann (Fofana 77), Mbappe, Colo Muani (Giroux 77) .

Holland: Cillessen, Timber, Gertreida (Malasia, 87), van Dijk, Ake, de Roon (Blind, 67), Wijnaldum, Taylor (Weghorst, 33), Bergeis (Malen, 68), Simons (D. Klassen, 68), Depay .

Warnings: Rabiot, 45. Gertreida, 65. Conate, 71. Blind, 78. T. Hernandez, 90. Upamecano, 90+3.

Judge: Mariani (Italy).


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