France and Dutch evenly matched ahead of World Cup warm-up
Just four Netherlands players from the side who last played France in 2008 are present in the current squad. Remarkably, each of those scored a goal apiece in the 4-1 thrashing of Les Blues in the European Championship.
Dirk Kuyt, Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder netted once each in that second group stage match, and are 10/3, 5/4, 7/4 and 11/4 respectively to score anytime again in their friendly at the Stade de France.
These two footballing giants have faced each other 22 times over a period of over 100 years, the first being in 1908 – also a 4-1 Dutch victory. You can back Louis van Gaal’s team at 125/1 to repeat that unlikely feat again.
France (22/1 to win the World Cup) are behind the Netherlands (28/1) in their head-to-head battles with eight victories compared to their opponents’ 10. However, the visitors still go into this match as underdogs with odds of 12/5 to win.
Clockwork Orange boast an impressive scoring record against their French counterparts as well, as they have an average of 2.3 goals in the 22 games played. This includes the pre-World War Two 5-0, 8-1, 4-3 and 6-1 victories. You can back them at 12/5 to net twice or more here again.
With both countries preparing for the World Cup, they will likely field strong sides as they hope to get one over the other in a battle for morale ahead of the Brazil tournament. France are favourites to win at 5/4, but they only just scraped through to the finals after a tense play-off tie against Ukraine.
The only notable absentees from Les Blues’ squad are creative Manchester City player Samir Nasri, his clubmate Gael Clichy and, to an extent, Eric Abidal of Monaco. It is an otherwise strong-looking group of players, and it will be especially tough to pick their starting forward, with both Olivier Giroud (5/4 to score anytime) and Karim Benzema (evens) vying to start.
Regular Frank Ribery, who came third in the Ballon d’Or, is 7/4 to net anytime, while Newcastle United’s in-form forward Loic Remy, who may be deployed out wide, is 5/4.
Real Sociedad’s Antoine Griezmann has finally been given the call-up to the French set-up following his fine form this season. The 22-year-old’s 19 goals in 39 matches in all competitions have clearly impressed national boss Didier Deschamps, and he is 7/4 to score on his debut.
Van Gaal has been hit with the news that Swansea City goalkeeper Michel Vorm and Rafael van der Vaart have both pulled out the squad, while Robben and Van Persie are doubts. If the latter is out, that could pave the way for Klaas-Jan Huntelaar to start. Back the Schalke striker at 6/4 in the anytime scorer market.