18:45 GMT 31 August 2017
As the 2017/18 season has just had time to get started, international football with the first break of the new campaign. And while it will annoy football fans across the world, we need to know which sides will be competing in Russia next year at the World Cup. Friday night sees Netherlands make the trip across Europe to face Euro finalists, France as both sides look to qualify from Group A. Sweden are currently leading the group on 13 points, separated from France by just goal difference. Netherlands are in third with 10 points.
Since the two sides last faced off in a World Cup qualifying group (1982), France have dominated the fixtures. In the 13 games, they have only allowed three Netherlands wins and have won each of the last three meetings. Both teams have scored in just two of the last five between them.
If France take all three points in this big World Cup qualifier, they may take Sweden over at the top of the group and their squad is more than strong enough to ensure they win. Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante, Antoine Griezmann, Alexandre Lacazette and Kylian Mbappe are all included in Didier Deschamps’ squad.
Latest matches: France
If they want any chance of qualification to next summer’s tournament it is vital that Netherlands avoid defeat in this clash. They welcome the return of Robin van Persie to the international fold after almost two years away. Although, he will probably occupy the bench as Vincent Janssen has been in good form for Oranje. They also have Wesley Sneijder, Gini Wijnaldum, Arjen Robben and Memphis Depay in their squad. Latest matches: Netherlands
Latest matches: Netherlands
Several years ago i t would have been very tough to call a winner in this clash but with the way the Netherlands have fallen off the international ladder, it is much easier nowadays. France shouldn’t have too many problems winning the game with their extremely capable squad, especially with home support behind them. The strong Netherlands side should at least score but they won’t be able to cope with the quality of the French.
31 August 2017 - 18:45 GMT
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