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UEFA Nations League - Netherlands 2-0 France: 5 Talking Points

ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
17 Nov 2018, 11:25 IST

Depay wheels away to celebrate his Panenka penalty in stoppage-time during a memorable win
Depay wheels away to celebrate his Panenka penalty in stoppage-time during a memorable win

It was a frustrating evening for World champions France, as they were comfortably beaten 2-0 by Ronald Koeman's Netherlands at De Kuip Stadium in Rotterdam. 

Goals from Georginio Wijnaldum and Memphis Depay late in either half were enough for Oranje - whose win here means Germany will be relegated to League B in the current Nations League format. 

Didier Deschamps' side were missing a few key players on this occasion: Samuel Umtiti (knee), Lucas Hernandez (muscle) and Paul Pogba (knock) were all evident absentees through their respective injuries. 

However, the overall team display was underwhelming, to say the least and they could have easily been beaten more heavily if not for Hugo Lloris' goalkeeping heroics during a frustrating night for the visitors. 

Holland can still top Group A and secure a semi-final berth, provided they beat Germany in Monday's fixture. With that in mind, here are 5 things we learned from an impressive Dutch victory:


#5 Mbappé isolated, Dembele frustrated again 

Mbappe trying to battle with Ajax's Matthjis de Ligt for possession during a frustrating evening
Mbappe trying to battle with Ajax's Matthjis de
Ligt
for possession during a frustrating evening

One of the keys to Holland's success here was keeping Kylian Mbappé quiet. Being a focal point in France's attacking moves, it was important the hosts dealt with him effectively and isolated him - so whenever he had possession, he would be swarmed, or alternatively, struggle to even get on the ball entirely. 

He had 38 touches during the 90 minutes, which was less than all of the hosts' starting eleven. In matches like this where the opponent is strong in defending as a collective unit, is precisely the type of match that he'd expect to get more involved on the ball and create chances. 

However, his teammates struggled for consistency when it came to passing and he regularly cut a frustrated figure, trying to latch onto misplaced passes or angling for a through ball which would never arrive. 

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His passing accuracy (75%) was not particularly high either, though he tends to try more risky passes with a high reward on offer. Despite being dispossessed on three occasions and having four unsuccessful touches, he was the only France player to complete more than one dribble (3) during a match that they were simply overwhelmed in.

As for Ousmane Dembele, his recent struggles have not yet subsided. He was introduced midway through the second-half but flattered to deceive. 58.3% pass accuracy, dispossessed four times in 25 minutes and booked for a cynical kick out on Denzel Dumfries, this was a cameo to forget for the Barcelona winger.  

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