AMSTERDAM, Sporting Alert – The Netherlands play host to France in a highlighted Europe World Cup Qualifier Group A clash at Amsterdam ArenA on Monday.
The squads are locked in a three-way tie for first place at the top group standings and a victory today for either would provide some much-needed breathing room.
Djibril Sidibe comes into the starting line for France for the injured Bacary Sagna and he will link up with Raphael Varane, Laurent Koscielny and Layvin Kurzawa in the back four for the visitors.
Paul Pogba and Blaise Matuidi are partnered up again in the middle of the park, with Moussa Sissoko and Dimitri Payet playing in support of forwards Antoine Griezmann and Kevin Gameiro.
N’Golo Kante, Kingsley Coman, Anthony Martial, Andre-Pierre Gignac and Yohan Cabaye are among the players on the bench.
Meanwhile, for Holland, first choice goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen injured an ankle in training and has been replaced by Maarten Stekelenburg, who surprisingly got the nod ahead of Michel Vorm.
He will be guarded by Jeffrey Bruma and Virgil van Dijk who start in the heart of the defense, with Rick Karsdorp and Daley Blind both starting in the backline as well.
Georginio Wijnaldum, Kevin Strootman, Masato Morishige, Quincy Promes, Vincent Janssen and Davy Klaassen are all in the starting lineup as well.
France, which beat Bulgaria 4-1 in the last outing, starts as the favourite, but the Netherlands believe there are weaknesses in their squad that can be exploited.
“The French also have their defects. They sometimes give away areas where we can use,” Dutch coach Danny Blind told reporters.
“We started well against Sweden, only the result (1-1) was disappointing, and the good feeling about that game we brought to the game with Belarus (4-1).
“Now I want to do the same in that third game and, at the least, not lose.
“But France are a tough opponent. Those guys are used to playing top matches every week.
“They are physically strong and so we will have to make a stand there straightaway.”
In the last meeting, France picked up a 3-2 in Amsterdam in a friendly clash in March. There are 10 victories for each in sides in 24 previous meetings, with the next four ending in draws.
World Cup Qualifier
Holland v France
Holland: Stekelenburg, Karsdorp, Bruma, van Dijk, Blind, Strootman, Wijnaldum, Promes, Propper, Klaassen, Janssen. Subs: Vorm, Zoet, Veltman, de Vrij, Kongolo, Willems, Clasie, Toornstra, Vilhena, Dost, De Jong, Depay.
France: Lloris, Sidibe, Varane, Koscielny, Kurzawa, Pogba, Matuidi, Sissoko, Griezmann, Payet, Gameiro. Subs: Mandanda, Laporte, Gignac, Martial, Fekir, Kimpembe, Cabaye, Digne, Corchia, Coman, Kante, Areola
Referee: Damir Skomina (Slovenia)