with a double from Kylian Mbappé, the Blues crush the Dutch for their first game of the year
For their first match since the World Cup, France easily beat the Netherlands (4-0), after a great collective performance and delivering a real impression of power in sequence.
Could France dream of a better homecoming? Three months and six days after the World Cup final loss against Argentina in Qatar, he still put on an excellent show for the crowd at the Stade de France on Friday 24 March against the Netherlands (4-0). Thanks to goals from Antoine Griezmann (2nd), Dayot Upamecano (8th) and Kylian Mbappé (21st, 88th), the Blues start the Euro 2024 qualifiers perfectly, against the Dutch considered their most formidable opponents in the group b.
With this great success, France’s players have shown that they are not afraid of change. After the international retirements of Hugo Lloris, Steve Mandanda and Raphaël Varane – the three received swift tribute before the game – the Blues began a new cycle on Friday evening, with Didier Deschamps still in charge and Kylian Mbappé as new manager.
First victory for Mbappé as captain
After passing his first test, that of communication in the press conference on Thursday, the new captain passed the one on the pitch with equal brilliance. Was Antoine Griezmann disappointed not to be made captain? Mbappé extinguished any controversy by serving his vice-captain on a plateau after one minute and 55 seconds of play, the fastest goal for the French team since 2006 (2nd). “Grizou” and Mbappé celebrated everything in an embrace which shows that everything is going well within the group.
This osmosis was felt in an initial period in which France gave an impression of power as rarely, not even during the World Cup. The Blues conquered their status as vice-champions of the world by beating the Netherlands for the second time with Dayot Upamecano’s goal, well helped by the bad exit of Jasper Cillessen (8th). Then he assisted the Dutch goalkeeper, defeated like all his defense who gave up the action, on Mbappé’s goal (21′).
At the moment, we will praise the gesture of Randal Kolo Muani, whose feint is worth the decisive pass. The Eintracht Frankfurt forward scored points and Olivier Giroud has something to worry about. Despite these three-goal lead and this unchallenged dominance, Didier Deschamps had a few things to say on his bench. The Blues offered some good sequences, with this action ending with a recovery over Mbappé (30′), but it also slowed down, especially in the second half. Slightly drowsy from the slower pace, the Azzurri were awakened by Mbappé, author of a solitary race for the double at the end of the match (88th).
Maignan already decisive
All that was missing was a top-notch performance from Mike Maignan for a perfect performance. The Blues’ new number 1 goalkeeper was forced to do some warm-up exercises. He only really had to intervene on a fierce free kick from Memphis Depay (58th) before pulling out the penalty from the latter at the end of the game (90th + 4). The Netherlands were far from the level of the quarter-finals of the last World Cup and team undefeated for 20 games in regular time. Watch out for any signs of inflammation, as the Dutch have been dwarfed by multiple injuries and a viral infection that has plagued the peloton.
The Blues don’t care and gain confidence with a good performance where the team shines above all, before a trip that promises to be insidious in Ireland on Monday 27 March. Despite this success, the road to Euro 2024 will be long. In Dublin, the French squad will be away from their bases this time around, not as well received as they were on Friday, and will once again have to take on runner-up world champion status.