Euro 2024 qualifier tips: France vs Netherlands - Kylian Mbappe leads French new wave
Before France can think about reaching another final, they must first qualify and it will be Kylian Mbappe who leads the side out from now on, after captain Hugo Lloris retired from the national stage.
Experienced centre-back Raphael Varane also called time on his France career, while 2022 Ballon d'Or winner Karim Benzema decided to quit following issues with manager Didier Deschamps.
Antoine Griezmann publicly aired his frustrations this week at not being the new France captain, but Mbappe seems a positive choice considering what he has already achieved for Les Bleus alongside how respected he is among teammates.
Mbappe won the prestigious Golden Boot award in Qatar back in December after a tremendous individual performance in the final where he scored a hat-trick.
Sadly for the young French star, it was his PSG team-mate Lionel Messi who lifted the trophy after Argentina defeated France in the penalty shootout.
Despite that major disappointment for Les Blues, there was a sense of acknowledgement towards what the future could bring - France have already been installed as Euro 2024 favourites by bookmakers.
Netherlands may not have reached the same heights in Qatar, but they did suffer the same fate, having lost on penalties to Argentina in the quarter-finals. In fact, the game was almost a carbon copy of the final as Argentina dropped a 2-0 lead, before eventually doing it the hard way from 12 yards.
Louis van Gaal has opted to retire from management since, which has paved the way for Ronald Koeman to return to the helm. A Barcelona legend in his playing days, Koeman begins his second stint in charge of the Oranje having led them to the final of the inaugural UEFA Nations League back in 2018-2019 - they lost 1-0 to Portugal thanks to a Goncalo Guedes winner.
Both sides will feature fresh faces within their squads for this one, namely due to a long list of absentees on both sides. On top of all the retirees, France are unable to call on forwards Ousmane Dembele and Christian Nkunku. In addition, N'golo Kante, Wesley Fofana, William Saliba, Presnel Kimbembe and Lucas Hernandez are all unavailable. The French side showed defensive vulnerabilities at the World Cup having conceded in all but one game throughout their World Cup run. With the retirements of key players such as Lloris and Varane, alongside the huge list of defensive absentees due to injury, a potentially disorganised defensive unit could provide ample opportunity for Dutch forwards. Netherlands themselves will be without key defensive players with their first choice keeper Andries Noppert and fullback Denzel Dumfries unavailable to injury and suspension respectively. The additional absence of Frankie De Jong in midfield seems particularly worrying for Koeman due to the pace of the French in offensive transitions. De Jong has such a keen sense for danger and is always well positioned to stop dangerous counter attacks.
Koeman is a much more offensively minded manager than Van Gaal and therefore with the defensive personnel issues on both sides an open game can be expected.
With the offensive quality on show, goals appear a good market to exploit. Over 2.25 asian goal line should provide value, while both teams to score is also a solid bet. Suggested bet: Both Teams To Score - Yes
Paul Bathurst provides football tips as Soccer Sharp on the Tipstrr platform
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