Uefa Nations League: France beat Netherlands in first home game since World Cup triumph

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France defeated Croatia 4-2 in the final in Russia to win their second World Cup

World Cup winners France enjoyed a celebratory homecoming as they paraded their trophy following Nations League victory over the Netherlands.

Backed by a party atmosphere in Paris, France began the brighter and took a deserved lead through Kylian Mbappe.

Despite creating little, the visitors – who failed to qualify for Russia 2018 – found a way back through Ryan Babel.

However, Olivier Giroud’s smart finish with 16 minutes remaining was enough to hand Les Bleus the points in Group A1.

France coach Didier Deschamps named the same team that began the world champions’ goalless draw with Germany in their opening Nations League fixture on Thursday, with only the injured Hugo Lloris absent from the side that started the World Cup final in Russia.

The hosts began confidently and were gifted the lead on 14 minutes when Quincy Promes’ poor header evaded his team-mates – instead allowing Juventus midfielder Blaise Matuidi to find the unmarked Mbappe in the six-yard box.

Mbappe, scorer of four World Cup goals, almost had his second soon after, narrowly failing to make enough contact with Antoine Griezmann’s free-kick to trouble Netherlands goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen.

As the French pressure continued to increase, Cillessen then did well to beat Mbappe to a through ball – and avoid giving away a penalty in the process.

The Netherlands had their first real chance on 66 minutes as Georginio Wijnaldum muscled his way through the French defence, only to drag his shot wide. A minute later they were level as former Liverpool winger Babel beat Benjamin Pavard to right-back Kenny Tete’s cross.

Now resurgent, the Dutch side went close to taking the lead soon after as Memphis Depay fired into the side-netting.

But it was Chelsea forward Giroud who settled the game, moving swiftly ahead of Netherlands captain Virgil van Dijk to meet substitute Benjamin Mendy’s cross and score his first goal in 11 internationals.

The Netherlands host Germany on Saturday (19:45 BST), before the Germans travel to face France on Tuesday, 16 October (19:45 BST).

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