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Preview: Netherlands Under-21s vs. France Under-21s - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Monday's European Under-21 Championship clash between the Netherlands and France, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

The Netherlands Under-21s make the long journey to Budapest to take on France Under-21s in the quarter-finals of the European Under-21 Championship on Monday evening.

Jong Oranje topped Group A to book their spot in the knockout stage for the first time since 2013, while France took six points from three games to steal second spot in Group C.

Match preview

Netherlands Under-21s manger Erwin van de Looi on March 27, 2021© Reuters

Back-to-back 1-1 draws with Romania and Germany was not an ideal way to kick off proceedings for the Netherlands in the group stage - especially given their wholesale domination of the qualification period - but they hit their stride on the final matchday to thrash Hungary 6-1 and seal top spot in the group.

It took 42 minutes for Dani de Wit to break the deadlock with a calm left-footed finish, but the floodgates opened in the second period as Myron Boadu tucked home a penalty before Cody Gakpo (two), Sven Botman and Brian Brobbey completed the rout, with Bendeguz Bolla adding a consolation for Hungary from 12 yards.

With three teams locked together on five points by the close of play in Group A, the Netherlands' superior head-to-head goal difference with Romania and Germany saw them finish at the top of the pile on their return to the international stage, having failed to qualify for the tournament in 2015, 2017 and 2019.

However, Erwin van de Looi's side simply breezed through their qualification group with nine wins from 10 and are well-stocked when it comes to title winners, as Eredivisie champion Perr Schuurs and Ligue 1 medal-winner Botman prepare to marshal the rearguard on Monday night.

With only one defeat from their last 16 competitive matches in all competitions, Jong Oranje can feel quietly confident about their chances of a first triumph in the tournament since 2007, but a taxing semi-final with Denmark or Germany awaits for the victor of Monday's tie at the Bozsik Arena.

France under-21 coach Sylvain Ripoll on March 25, 2021© Reuters

France's only blip of the group stage came on the opening day as they suffered a 1-0 defeat to eventual group winners Denmark, but Sylvain Ripoll's side secured back-to-back 2-0 wins over Russia and Iceland to snatch second spot in Group C.

Celtic hotshot Odsonne Edouard was unsurprisingly on the scoresheet on both occasions, with Jonathan Ikone and Matteo Guendouzi also making the net ripple in the group stage, and this talented crop of Bleuets youngsters are undoubtedly one of the favourites for the crown.

Like their quarter-final opponents, France took 27 points from 30 on offer in qualification to advance to the proper tournament, and Ripoll's staunch rearguard has conceded just three goals in their last nine competitive fixtures, although they have lost Jules Kounde to a senior call-up ahead of the tournament.

Nevertheless, the 1988 Under-21 European champions - who lost in the semi-finals to Spain in 2019 - are more than capable of going one better this time around, and the Bleuets have triumphed in 28 of their last 36 European Under-21 encounters before they renew hostilities with the Netherlands.

The Netherlands secured a dramatic 3-2 victory in extra time over France when the sides last met in the 2006 Under-21 European Championships - which Jong Oranje ultimately won - but an Anthony Martial-inspired Bleuets eased to a 4-1 success during a 2015 friendly.

Netherlands Under-21s European Under-21 Championship form:
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • W

France Under-21s European Under-21 Championship form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W

Team News

Matteo Guendouzi in action for Hertha Berlin on January 30, 2021© Reuters

The Netherlands have lost Gakpo and Teun Koopmeiners after both players were called up to the senior team for Euro 2020, while Brobbey, Deyovaisio Zeefuik and Noa Lang will not participate due to injuries.

Van de Looi has welcomed uncapped 18-year-old Devyne Rensch to the squad for the knockout rounds, while Kaj Sierhuis and Calvin Stengs - with 12 goals in 17 appearances for Jong Oranje combined - have also both been recalled.

With Justin Kluivert likely to cover on the left flank for the absent Gakpo, Sierhuis has a strong chance of partnering Boadu up top in the quarter-final, especially after Brobbey reportedly had to withdraw due to a training injury.

France Under-21s captain Guendouzi will play no part in the knockout rounds after suffering a fractured metatarsal, while Wesley Fofana and Alexis Claude-Maurice have also succumbed to injuries and are not in the squad.

Nantes duo Alban Lafont and Randal Kolo Muani are currently battling to save their side from the drop in the Ligue 1 relegation/promotion playoffs with Toulouse and will not be taking part either.

Marseille lynchpin Boubacar Kamara has been overlooked, but there are returns for Lyon's midfield duo Houssem Aouar and Maxence Caqueret, as well as soon-to-be Bayern Munich defender Dayot Upamecano.

Uncapped duo Etienne Green and Axel Disasi have also been included after impressing in Ligue 1, while Liverpool new boy Ibrahima Konate ought to partner Benoit Badiashile in defence after Kounde's senior call-up.

Netherlands Under-21s possible starting lineup:
Scherpen; Teze, Schuurs, Botman, Bakker; Harroui; Stengs, De Wit, Kluivert; Sierhuis, Boadu

France Under-21s possible starting lineup:
Meslier; Dagba, Konate, Badiashile, Truffert; Tchouameni, Soumare, Aouar; Ikone, Edouard, Gouiri

SM words green background

We say: Netherlands Under-21s 1-2 France Under-21s

This youthful France team would undoubtedly give most senior sides a good run for their money, and questions will surely be asked if Ripoll cannot lead this side to the final, even with a number of fresh injuries.

The Netherlands certainly have the quality going forward to hurt France, but when the formidable trio of Edouard, Ikone and Amine Gouiri are on form, there should be no stopping the Bleuets on their way to the last four.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting a double chance bet on a draw or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Draw/Away:data

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