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Netherlands And France Share Spoils In Tense Euro 2024 Draw

  • June 21, 2024
  • 3 min read
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Netherlands And France Share Spoils In Tense Euro 2024 Draw

The much-anticipated clash between Netherlands and France at the Red Bull Arena in Leipzig ended in a goalless stalemate, marking the first scoreless draw of Euro 2024.

Despite boasting a wealth of attacking talent, both sides failed to convert their chances, leaving fans slightly disappointed.

Both teams, with rich histories in the tournament (Netherlands – 1988 champions, France – 2000 champions), aimed to establish dominance. Notably, France had previously defeated the Dutch twice during the qualifiers. However, this time, the Netherlands displayed remarkable resilience, holding their ground against a strong French side.

A key absence for France was Kylian Mbappé, who missed the starting lineup due to a nose injury sustained in their previous match against Austria. Despite being available as a substitute, he remained on the bench, still seeking his first Euro 2024 goal.

The match began at a frenetic pace. In the opening minute, Jeremy Frimpong showcased his blistering speed, but his shot was denied by a strong save from Mike Maignan. France retaliated swiftly, with Antoine Griezmann testing Dutch keeper Bart Verbruggen just three minutes later. Griezmann then squandered a golden opportunity soon after, miscuing a close-range shot that Verbruggen expertly saved.

The Dutch responded with their own threats, with Cody Gakpo unleashing a powerful strike that Maignan managed to parry away. Despite a flurry of promising attacks on both sides, the first half concluded scoreless.

The second half displayed a more controlled approach from France, who maintained possession and meticulously built their attacks. In contrast, the Netherlands sought to exploit the pace of their wingers, Frimpong and Gakpo. France’s persistence nearly paid off in the 59th minute when Marcus Thuram found space but failed to find the target.

Griezmann remained a constant threat, receiving a pinpoint pass from N’Golo Kanté, but Verbruggen once again proved his worth. Ousmane Dembele also tried his luck with a powerful shot that sailed over the bar.

The Netherlands thought they had snatched victory when Xavi Simons scored from a rebound, but the goal was disallowed for offside, with Denzel Dumfries adjudged to have obstructed Maignan’s view.

As the final whistle approached, Didier Deschamps opted to bring on Kingsley Coman and Olivier Giroud for Dembele and Thuram, surprisingly leaving Mbappé on the bench. Despite France’s methodical approach and the Netherlands’ swift counter-attacks, neither team could break the deadlock, resulting in a stalemate.

Mbappé’s absence will undoubtedly be a talking point, with fans eagerly anticipating his return and his first goal in the tournament. Both teams will need to refine their strategies as the group stage progresses to secure their places in the knockout rounds. However, with four points each at this stage, it seems likely they will both advance.

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Nkanyiso Mchunu

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