Netherlands v France – Amsterdam Arena at 19:45 live on ITV4
I under-estimated the French in my Asian Handicap preview on Friday but won’t be making the same mistake this evening. Les Bleus ran out 4-1 winners against Bulgaria at the Stade de France. Tonight’s fixture against the Dutch in Amsterdam will provide a sterner test, but the visitors offer some value. There is also an angle on the goals market.
Like France, the Dutch have picked up 4 points from their first two qualifying matches. Holland battled to a 1-1 draw in Sweden before thumping Belarus 4-1 on Friday.
They are going through something of a transition period, rebuilding after their failure to qualify for the Euro 2016 finals. After winning just 5 of their 10 matches, they finished fourth behind the Czech Republic, Ireland and Turkey.
Failure to qualify for the finals in Russia is simply not an option for Danny Blind, but with just one automatic qualifying spot, a loss needs to be avoided tonight.
Oranje will be without captain Arjen Robben, who will be missed in what is a very youthful team. There is no doubt they are improving but they are still a way off the level of the side that reached the World Cup semi final in 2014.
This is the best French squad I’ve seen since 2000, however they are too inconsistent.
Le Bleus came into the Euro’s as host nation and favourites this Summer. They made it to the final but lost out in extra time to Portugal. It was a far from convincing tournament though, battling to a number of victories, relying on a number of late winners.
The experience from the European Championships will no doubt make France stronger, but currently they don’t do enough to convince me they are serious World Cup 2018 contenders. That’s a long way off though, first they need to concentrate on qualifying.
A disappointing draw against Belarus started their campaign poorly. A different France turned up against Bulgaria on Friday and despite going a goal down, they came back and won comfortably.
It’s difficult to know which France will turn up this evening but knowing this is their toughest fixture in group A, and after dropping points against Belarus, we should see a very determined French side here.
Asian Handicap & Total goals
France have won their last 2 meetings against the Netherlands, most recently in March at the Amsterdam Arena 3-2 in a Friendly. A draw here would be a good result for the French, but I expect them to play for the win. They do struggle with inconsistency, but they are the better and more experienced team. At 1.98 -0.25 on the Asian Handicap market, they are one of my recommendations.
Although a draw would suit both sides, I’m expecting an open, attacking encounter. Each nation scored 4 goals on Friday, but conceded against much weaker opposition. Defence is neither sides strength, so I’m also backing the attack’s to come out on top. Over 2.5 goals at odds against (2.14), should be backed with confidence.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: France -0.25 at 1.98 & Over 2.5 goals at 2.14
Prices correct at time of writing,
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