International football returns to our screens as the Euro 2024 qualifying campaign begins in midweek. We have some mouth-watering matches on the programme, including Italy v England in a Group C rerun of the Euro 2020 final. The Italians enter this competition as the champions, but few expect them to make it two-in-a-row. Perhaps that will change if the 2020 kings of Europe get off to a winning start against England. You can read our in-depth Italy v England preview on this site.
On this page, we focus on the highlight of Friday’s action when France and the Netherlands cross paths. These two giants of world football have been drawn together in Group B and you’d expect them to be vying for top spot and automatic qualification to next summer’s championship. Both teams know this group is there to be won, but they are also aware of the strengths of their rival and will want to avoid having to fight their way through the playoffs just to make it to Euro 2024. An action-packed 90 minutes awaits armchair fans.
Les Bleus and Oranje have met 28 times in the past and they have served up some memorable games over the years. Remember the 3-2 win for France over Holland in 2016? The head-to-head scores show the French edge it on wins at this stage with 13 victories against four draws and 11 wins for the Dutch. The most recent game was played in the UEFA Nations League in 2018 when the Netherlands won 2-0. Can they add another victory or will France fire back when it matters? Keep reading for the advice and predictions of our team of experts.
French fancy a sweet campaign
France are one of the early favourites with football experts, fans, traders and pundits to win Euro 2024. They didn’t perform as well as was hoped in the previous European Championship, but performed much better at the World Cup, beating England in the quarter-finals. That was sweet success for Les Bleus and they’ll know, even at this early stage, that they are a team that’s good enough to be crowned European champions once again. There’s plenty of football to be played before that dream becomes a reality, but there can be no denying France has a solid platform to launch their attack.
France have been dropped into a group including the Netherlands, Gibraltar, Greece and Republic of Ireland and this may be the most competitive pool of the lot. France and the Netherlands are expected to compete for the prize places, but former European champions Greece are capable of taking points off the big teams when it matters and we wouldn’t be in a rush to rule out Ireland who have some interesting talent in their squad. To be successful, France must guard against complacency.
We last saw the French in action at the FIFA World Cup when they were knocked out by Argentina on penalties in the final. That match ended 3-3 after extra-time, meaning it had to be settled from the spot. Argentina held their nerve to become champions of the world, winning the shootout 4-2 to deny their opponents another memorable win. Having come so close in December, there’s pressure on Les Bleus to make a quickfire return to winning ways. This is the perfect game to achieve that goal while making a statement.
Holland hold high hopes
All the talk in midweek focused on France’s chances of winning Group B before going on to win the trophy in Germany next summer. But that’s harsh on the Netherlands who will believe they’re good enough to do the same. An away win over the group favourites would go some way to showing this Dutch team continues to improve. The squad is packed with talent, boasting some of the sport’s most famous names from club football, but they rarely pull it together and play as a team. Will that change here?
The Netherlands know this will likely become a two-team shoot-out involving themselves and France. Which team will go through as the pool champions? That remains to be seen but it’s unlikely the group will settle on the result of this game. Holland wants to beat France, but it’s the other teams, such as Ireland and Greece, they must collect points against. Consistency is king during this phase, so defeat in Paris wouldn’t be the end of the road. We expect this campaign to go down to the wire.
The Netherlands’ last match was also against Argentina at the World Cup with Lionel Messi and co winning 4-3 on penalties. That quarter-final match ended 2-2 after extra-time before Argentina stood firm and progressed by the odd goal in seven from the spot. A bitter pill to swallow for the Dutch fans but they can use the hurt of that failed World Cup push to help drive their quest to become 2024 European champions.
France v Netherlands predictions
The stats attached to this fixture show three of the last four have seen at least one team fail to find the net. Both teams not to score again on what will be an edgy night is sure to feature in a few people’s predictions. The French enjoy home advantage and have a great record against the Dutch in Paris. At their best, the home team should know enough to get off to a winning start and collect all three points.
European Championships odds
22Bet members can make predictions and place bets on this game. Back France at 1.84 or take the Netherlands at 4.52. A draw will net backers 3.52.
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