World Cup champions France marked their home return in style as they secured a hard-fought 2-1 triumph over the Netherlands internationals. Les Bleus took an early lead in the Nations League encounter after Kylian Mbappe netted a simple tap-in in the 14th minute and they went into the interval being the dominant side by the clearest of margins.
However, the Dutch provided a good fightback following the interval with Ryan Babel netting his first competitive goal in 13 years, but the joy was shortlived after Olivier Giroud ended his goal drought with a stunning winner which came 16 minutes from time.
Three things we learned:
Olivier Giroud ends his scoring drought: Giroud had gone through 10 international matches without finding the scoresheet but Didier Deschamps continued to keep the faith in the marksman against the Dutchman. Though Giroud appeared to struggle physically during the second period, he managed to make the most meaningful impact after getting on the right end of a powerful cross from substitute Benjamin Mendy. Giroud has now become France’s fourth-highest scorer of all-time after surpassing Zinedine Zidane’s tally of 32 goals.
Kylian Mbappe with another meaningful impact: Mbappe continued his fine form from the World Cup with another good showing in the Nations League. The teenager was unfortunate to have not contributed an assist in the recent meeting versus Germany but he quickly made amends by scoring a simple tap-in against the Dutch. Aside from this, the 19-year-old was full of running during the game but he could have added another goal to his tally, if not for the impressive defending for Holland captain Virgil van Dijk.
Netherlands fail to make their chances pay: Netherlands were certainly second-best in the first half but they came with a strong comeback following the break. Ryan Babel may have netted the sole goal for the Dutch but they should have at least scored another with Georginio Wijnaldum fluffing his lines with a clear-cut chance. The Dutchman fired his opportunity wide of the mark at the near post but things could have been different, had he spotted Memphis Depay’s free run on his left side.
Image – Chelsea’s official website