France coach Didier Deschamps admitted on Thursday that the world champion was not underestimating a reborn Netherlands team as his side sets its sights on the semifinals of the Nations League.
The French need just a point from its final match -- in Rotterdam on Friday -- to ensure a place in the knockout stages, and former France midfielder Deschamps picked out Frenkie de Jong as the key to the Dutch revival under Ronald Koeman after failing to qualify for the summer's World Cup.
“We tend to praise attacking players, but there is one that impresses me and that's the young De Jong in midfield, with his intelligence, his ability to bring the ball out and get it forward,” said Deschamps on Thursday.
France is unbeaten and top of Group 1 in League A after three games, four points ahead of second-placed the Netherlands, who still have two matches left to play.
Koeman's side hammered Germany 3-0 last time out and were only narrowly beaten at the Stade de France in September. It also impressed in a 1-1 friendly draw with Belgium last month.
Should France lose on Friday it would give the Dutch a chance to leapfrog the World Cup winner when it takes on Germany in Gelsenkirchen on Monday.
“(Qualification) depends on us, through tomorrow's result which should see us ensure first place in the group. We know what we have to do,” added Deschamps.
“Even if a draw is enough for us, we will play this match with the ambition and the goal of winning it.”
- ISL 2023-24: Martinez strike guides FC Goa to win in its opening match of the season against Punjab
- Ancy Sojan’s dream night in Hangzhou: Asian Games silver, new PB and dancing to Vijay’s hit number from Leo
- Premier League: Liverpool ask PGMOL for VAR decision audio after controversial Tottenham defeat
- Asian Champions League clash called off after Al Ittihad refuses to leave dressing room
- China Open: Alcaraz, Medvedev through to semifinals; Swiatek in second round