France vs Netherlands Prediction
France Have the Flair but Temperament Will Be Tested Here
France began this tournament with a bang. Their 5-1 victory over Italy was a statement of intent, especially as all five goals came in the opening 45 minutes. The Azzurre never recovered from the damage to the confidence that the thrashing on matchday one did to them. Much had been made of France’s firepower heading into the tournament, and the strength of their attacking game was only underlined by the fact that Grace Geyoro, a midfielder, notched a hat-trick that night.
Corinne Diacre’s side were not quite able to keep up that pace for the remainder of the group phase. Their victory over Belgium was much narrower, with France running out 2-1 winners at the New York Stadium. They had to dig deep to overcome dogged opponents, but the triumph saw them through to the knockout phase as the winners of Group D with a game to spare. Their final match was a 1-1 draw with Iceland in which their opponents only leveled the scores in the 12th minute of second-half stoppage time.
Diacre will be pleased with how her team performed in the group stage. Before a ball had been kicked this summer, there was not really a consensus on France. Some felt their abundance of talent, particularly in forward areas, made them one of the leading contenders. Others cast doubt on their ability to go deep, pointing to the tension within the camp involving Diacre and several of her players.
Both theories could yet be proved right. France negotiated the group stage without too much trouble, but tougher matches lie ahead. It will be interesting to see how this side responds to adversity, such as by going a goal down in a knockout match. Despite their performances in the first phase, there are still a few remaining doubters for this France team to win over.
Netherlands Did Not Have Smooth Passage to the Knockouts
The Netherlands also ended the group stage with seven points, but that tally was not enough for them to finish on top of Group C. They were ousted by Sweden, who finished with a superior goal difference thanks to their exploits on matchday three. The two favorites to go through met in the first round of fixtures, when the Netherlands showed plenty of character to recover from a nightmare first half.
Virtually everything that could have gone wrong for the Dutch in those opening 45 minutes of Euro 2022, did. It is not just that they were outplayed by Sweden, who took a deserved lead through Joanna Anderson. It is also that they lost two key players, the goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal and the center-back Aniek Nouwen, to injury. The Netherlands showed why they are European champions with a spirited fightback after the break.
The holders made life harder than it needed to be in their second game, beating Portugal 3-2 at the Leigh Sports Village. A late flurry of goals saw them thrash Switzerland 4-1 last time out, but Sweden’s 5-0 triumph over the Portuguese meant Mark Parsons’ side had to settle for second spot.
When you consider the aforementioned injuries and the absence of star woman Viv Miedema due to Covid-19, the Netherlands have not had as smooth a passage to the knockout phase as their results appear to suggest.
Netherlands Could Frustrate France and Spring a Surprise
At the time of writing is not clear whether or not Miedema will be fit enough to take part this weekend. She missed the victories over Portugal and Switzerland after testing positive for Covid-19; even if she returns a negative test before Saturday, Parsons might have reservations about throwing her straight into the starting XI. The hope in the Dutch camp is that Miedema will be able to get a few training sessions under her belt before the game.
France will definitely be without their main woman up front, with Marie-Antoinette Katoto ruled out for the remainder of the tournament. That is a huge blow to les Bleues, who did not sparkle to the same extent after she picked up a knee injury.
The odds at the top of this page show that the Netherlands are the underdogs here, but Parsons will not mind that too much. Even though they are facing the reigning champions, it will be up to France to deal with the weight of expectation. That could play into their opponents’ hands. The Netherlands might not have as much possession as they are used to, but they could frustrate France by being organized without the ball and then picking their moments to attack.
France deserve to be favorites but the odds being so dramatically in their favor arguably underestimates the Dutch. For that reason, back the holders to spring a surprise in the fourth and final quarter-final of Euro 2022.
How to Watch France vs Netherlands
Teams France vs Netherlands Location New York Stadium, Rotherham, England Time Saturday, 23 July 2022, 3.00PM EST How to watch ESPN2, fuboTV