Saturday, July 13, 2024

France out to maintain dominance over Netherlands


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Leipzig, June 20: Former champions France and the Netherlands clash in their second match at the European Championship. France won seven of the teams’ last eight meetings including home and away victories in qualifying.
This buildup has been overshadowed by speculation about whether France star Kylian Mbappé can play after breaking his nose in the opening win over Austria.
Mbappé broke his nose when his face collided with Austria defender Kevin Danso’s shoulder on Monday. Blood stained his white France jersey. If he plays on Friday, he’ll need to wear a mask. But, it remains uncertain. Mbappé returned to light training on Wednesday.
If he plays, the France captain will hope to score at a European Championship at the sixth attempt. Mbappé has 47 goals in 80 games for France, including 12 in qualifying for the Euros, but he’s yet to score in five games at the tournament.France and the Netherlands are level on three points in Group D.
The Dutch came from behind to beat Poland 2-1 and France needed an own goal to beat Austria 1-0.France defeated the Netherlands 4-0 at home and 2-1 away in qualifying. The Dutch were group runners-up.
Dutch forward Xavi Simons will be back in Leipzig, where he played last season on loan from Paris Saint-Germain.
The 21-year-old Xavi scored eight goals in 32 Bundesliga appearances to help Leipzig finish fourth. The German club hopes he’ll be back next season. He has already played 15 games for the Netherlands.
The Netherlands won Euro ‘88 with current coach Ronald Koeman in the team alongside the brilliant trio of Ruud Gullit, Marco van Basten and Frank Rijkaard, who played for AC Milan.
The Dutch won their three group games in the last edition, then lost to the Czech Republic in the round of 16.France won Euro ‘84 as host, then – with Didier Deschamps as captain – Euro 2000 after he captained the team to the World Cup title as host in 1998. Kickoff at 12:30 am IST. (AP)


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