Nations League: Olivier Giroud finally scores as France beat Netherlands
World Champions France continued with their party mode defeating Netherlands 2-1 in their second match of the Nations League at home on Sunday.
The 2018 World Cup winners took the lead as early as the 14th minute when Quincy Promes’ lame back headed pass evaded his teammates to find Blaise Matuidi, who calmly laid the ball for an unmarked Kylian Mbappe inside the six-yard box.
Young Player of the tournament, Mbappe than had the opportunity to score his second soon after the opening goal, but he failed to make enough contact with an Antoine Griezmann free-kick. He once again came close from a Paul Pogba through ball but Dutch goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen came out of his line to clear the ball away from danger.
One goal ahead, the French continued to mount up the pressure, but the Netherlands after shielding themselves for most of the opening half started attacking in the second. They had their first real chance in the 66th minute when Georginio Wijnaldum broke his way through the heart of the French defence but dragged his shot wide.
It, however, did well to boost up the otherwise down team suffering from the retirement of their past greats and a minute later former Liverpool player Ryan Babel found the net. He headed home a right-back Kenny Tete’s cross to level the scores for the Netherlands.
Another former EPL player Memphis Depay then came close to giving his side the lead, only to fire the ball into the side-netting from a favourable position.
The game was eventually settled by Olivier Giroud’s first international goal in 11 matches, handing France their first victory into the tournament after the drab draw against Germany.
Chelsea forward Giroud headed home a Benjamin Pavard cross into the goal after over-jumping Dutch centre-back Virgil Van Dijk.
Meanwhile, Wales faced their first defeat under new manager Ryan Giggs losing 2-0 against Denmark in the League B match.
The Danes, who saw most of their stars return to the playing XI after boycotting the friendly against Slovakia over commercial rights, fielded a strong team that made it to the World Cup quarter-finals.
Captain and star player Christian Eriksen scored both the goals in the victory, the second of which came from a penalty after Ethan Ampadu of Wales was adjudged to have handled the ball inside his own penalty box.
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