France beat the Netherlands 2-1 at the Johan Cruyff Arena at Amsterdam last Friday, to qualify for next summer’s European Championship. Les Bleus thus maintained their perfect record in their group, having won each of their six matches thus far. They have lost only one match in 2023 – a 2-1 away defeat to Germany in an international friendly in September.
With the qualification already ensured, France will start the tournament as the favourite. Head coach Dider Deschamps has already taken his side to two successive World Cup finals, having won the trophy back in 2018. The French have been the most consistent national team in the world for quite some time now. Their only blemish has been the inability to win the Euro – although they finished runners-up in 2016 – and Deschamps will want to set the record straight.
Kylian Mbappé doing the trick yet again
Mbappé scored a brace to guide his team to a victory over the Dutch on Friday. The French captain scored his 41st and 42nd goals for his country, and could have scored a hat-trick had his shot not rattled the crossbar once. Mbappé is quite possibly the best player
in the world at the moment and will need to keep performing at his best if France is to win their third European Championship title.
The 24-year-old French forward’s ability to find the net with scorching shots from outside the penalty box remains an enviable quality of his. Not to mention that his speed and the ability to burst through the inside-left channel keeps benefiting the French immensely. Mbappé in his prime will be a reason for concern for all of France’s opponents in the future.
Enviable squad depth
The French have some amazing players at their disposal, with Mbappé by no means running a one-man show. There are a plethora of top defenders like Raphaël Varane, William Saliba, Ibrahima Konaté, Lucas Hernandez, Théo Hernandez, Jules Koundé etc. On top of that, they have the likes of Adrien Rabiot, N’Golo Kante, Aurélien Tchouaméni and Eduardo Camavinga bossing the midfield. Almost all of those players are key components for their respective club teams, too.
No other national team can boast such a wonderful collection of defenders and midfielders, and it remains a pity that some of them have to start on the bench. A lot of other teams would have killed to have some of those players in their squads.
Quality forward such as Marcus Thuram, Antoine Griezmann, Kingsley Coman, Olivier Giroud and Randal Kolo Muani are there to partner Mbappé in the attack. Coman and Mbappé provide width to the attack with their great speed with Ousmane Dembélé in reserve. Giroud has aged, but can still be quite a handful with his aerial presence.
Thuram and Kolo Muani are among the better finishers in world football at the moment. With all those resources and their imperious form, Deschamps’ team remains the one to beat in the upcoming tournament. Upsets can happen, but no other team seems to be able to stand up to the French on paper.