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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Defensive standoff: Netherlands, France share points in goalless draw


) In a closely contested Euro 2024 match, the Netherlands and France battled to a goalless draw here on Saturday IST, maintaining parity at the top of Group D with both teams now on four points. The result sets the stage for a thrilling final matchday in the group.

Both sides exhibited resilient defensive displays, with Netherlands’ captain Virgil van Dijk impressing as he neutralised France’s potent attacking threats.

The Oranje nearly seized an early lead as Jeremie Frimpong’s blistering pace created a clear chance, only for goalkeeper Mike Maignan to deflect his effort around the post. France responded with Antoine Griezmann missing a golden opportunity and Marcus Thuram also failing to convert, ensuring a goalless first half.

In the second half, Thuram squandered another opportunity, dragging his shot wide. France intensified their offensive efforts, with Adrien Rabiot’s late surges posing a threat, but the Dutch defense held firm, culminating in a deadlock. Notably, France opted to keep Kylian Mbappe on the bench for the entirety of the match.

N’Golo Kante’s influential performance earned him the Vivo Player of the Match accolade, crucial in France’s collective effort.

This marks only the second time in their last 19 EURO group stage matches that the Netherlands have failed to score, and notably, it’s the first goalless draw at the EUROs since England vs Scotland in 2020.

France continues their formidable streak, having lost just once in their last 13 EURO games and maintaining an unbeaten record in their last eight EURO group stage matches.

Olivier Giroud and Griezmann have now each made 13 EURO appearances for France, joining esteemed company alongside Laurent Blanc and Didier Deschamps. UNI BDN AKS

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