France vs. Netherlands: Final score 2-0, Les Blues cruise past Dutch easily

David Rogers

France gained a surprisingly easy victory over the Netherlands as the visitors' young debutants failed to make an impact against a very solid Les Bleus side.

France made surprisingly light work of The Netherlands as they cruised to a comfortable 2-0 win in front of a home crowd at Parc des Princes in their international friendly.

Two excellent goals from Karim Benzema and Blaise Matuidi sealed the win for the hosts, and although they missed some other good chances, the Dutch did not really threaten all night in what was a hugely disappointing performance from the visitors.

John-Paul Boetius and Quincy Promes, both debutants for the visitors, initially looked to be getting the Netherlands off to a fine start with their direct running causing problems for Patrice Evra and Mathieu Debuchy, but it wasn't long before the home side imposed themselves on the game and began to create chances themselves. Benzema had two opportunities, first failing to get on the end of Debuchy's fizzed cross, and secondly doing well to chest and volley a long ball into the net, only to be ruled out for offside.

There was then a scare for France as Hugo Lloris palmed the ball out from a corner right to Ron Vlaar, but the Aston Villa man blazed his effort well over. Just two minutes later, however, it was France who struck, Benzema letting a direct ball from Matuidi drop over his shoulder, and after appearing to be merely holding the ball up, suddenly whacked a half-volley across goal which caught Cillessen by surprise and put France into the lead.

Matuidi then turned finisher as he put France into a 2-0 lead, getting on the end of Mathieu Valbuena's cross with a brilliant acrobatic finish to send the ball into the far corner and leave the Dutch struggling to compete.

The second half petered out somewhat in the familiar fashion as both sides took the opportunity to make substitutions, although Raphael Varane had a fine chance from a set-piece which he squandered. A French counter-attack then saw Paul Pogba in space in the area, but the Juventus midfielder, who had a quiet night overall, lost his footing at the vital moment.

The Netherlands had a number of young debutants in their side, too, but the only one to really make an impact was a late introduction in Memphis Depay. The winger caused the only problems for France in the later stages, drawing a yellow card from Yohan Cabaye and requiring Eliaquim Mangala's intervention after going on a fine run into the French area.

In the end, however, France were not unduly troubled and held on for an impressively-comfortable victory, one which will give a major boost to the country's morale ahead of the World Cup. The French will go into that tournament a long way from favorites, but they proved that they are still a very dangerous team to go up against.

France: Lloris, Debuchy, Evra, Mangala, Varane, Pogba, Matuidi, Cabaye, Valbuena, Benzema, Griezman.

Goals: Benzema 32', Matuidi 41'

Netherlands: Cillessen, van der Wiel, Vlaar, Martins Indi, Blind, Clasie, Sneijder, Strootman, Promes, Van Persie, Boëtius.

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