France vs Holland preview, betting tips and predictions: France to put Holland’s World Cup place in further doubt
France to win and BTTS @ 13/5 with Betfair
France in both halves @ 7/5 with Betfair
Score draw @ 9/2 with Betfair
Looking at the history books, and even at some of the players on paper, this one should be a heavyweight clash. But Holland’s failure to qualify for Euro 2016, which France reached the final of in their own country, means they are going through a very poor spell right now despite still having some very good players in their squad.
Both these sides are still well in the race to qualify for the World Cup in Russia next summer, but neither are leading the group after six games. Sweden are ahead of France on goal difference, with both sides losing once in six games so far, with Holland three points behind in third after two defeats. Right now, it is looking like one of these two nations will miss out on qualification, and provided other results don’t go their way, defeat in France could be another nail in Dick Advocaat’s side’s coffin.
Didier Deschamps has a remarkable array of talent at his disposal, from the likes of Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann to Barcelona new boy Ousmane Dembele. Monaco youngster Kylian Mbappe, who scored 21 times last season and is fully expected to join PSG this week, has not yet scored in four games for Les Bleus, but as arguably the most amazing young player since Lionel Messi, he is always going to be a threat.
Deschamps has such options that Arsenal’s new £50million record signing Alexandre Lacazette rarely gets a look in for France.
Holland’s main threat could come from Liverpool midfielder Gini Wijnaldum, but their main issue has been failing to replace their ageing stars adequately. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder are just three who’s mantles have not been taken on, while France, as already mentioned, have almost too much quality. Memphis Depay, who plays in France for Lyon and is currently rebuilding his career after leaving Manchester United, could also cause problems.
That attack will be the difference between winning and losing for France, but ironically, it is Holland who top the group in terms of goals scored with 13 to Les Bleus’ 11, but they have conceded six to their hosts on Friday’s five. But with home advantage, and the added quality, France should come out on top, even if both teams score or it takes until the second half, as has been tipped here.
Statistically, France are not too far ahead of Holland, and it is not out of the question that they could get a point, but under the pressure they will be, it will take a big performance.
Key battle: Stefan de Vrij vs Kylian Mbappe
Now would be the perfect time for Mbappe to get off the mark internationally, and with France setting up in the same 4-4-2 formation that got so much out of him at Monaco last season, there is real hope it will happen soon.
Mbappe is extremely accomplished for an 18 year old, and the stats don’t tell the whole story. His intelligent runs are what make him stand out from the crowd as he showed in the Champions League knockout rounds against Borussia Dortmund and Juventus particularly. De Vrij will be under a lot of pressure not to allow Mbappe to run off his shoulder but that is obviously easier said than done. Sitting deep will be best for Holland, but they don’t want to get penned in, meaning Wijnaldum will be needed to get box-to-box. Mbappe could be good value to score.