Netherlands 2 France 0: Wijnaldum & Depay decisive as Germany is relegated

Germany has been relegated from the Nations League's top tier after Netherlands beat France in Rotterdam on Friday.

Netherlands star Memphis Depay   -  Getty Images

Georginio Wijnaldum and Memphis Depay were decisive as Netherlands beat France 2-0 to relegate Germany in the Nations League and give itself a chance at reaching the Finals.

Germany needed France to win to give it a realistic chance of escaping the drop, but Netherlands deserved its victory in Rotterdam to ensure Joachim Low's men are demoted from the top tier.

Netherlands can claim progression to the final four with a point in its last outing away to the relegated Germans.

The home side had the better of the first period and deservedly broke the deadlock 44 minutes in through Wijnaldum, who made amends for an earlier miss.

France never really showed the hunger to take control thereafter, and Depay wrapped things up with a stoppage-time penalty which beat the otherwise excellent Hugo Lloris in goal.

Netherlands made a ferocious start which almost gave it a second-minute lead, but Wijnaldum shot straight at Lloris from 12 yards after Depay's cut-back.

The visitor responded and went close itself soon after when Antoine Griezmann saw a header saved by Jasper Cillessen.

Netherlands' control dissipated as the first half progressed, but it did go ahead just before the break – Wijnaldum slotting in the rebound after Ryan Babel failed to beat Lloris from close range.

Lloris had to be alert to prevent a second just after the hour, denying Denzel Dumfries' header and then blocking the defender's follow-up effort with his right leg.

Depay was the next to test Lloris 17 minutes from time – his 25-yard free-kick forcing the goalkeeper into save down to his left.

The Lyon star went close again soon after, dashing beyond Benjamin Pavard and seeing Lloris deflect a left-footed drive wide.

France could not capitalise, however, as Netherlands made sure of the victory in the sixth minute of added time - Depay producing a cheeky 'Panenka' penalty after Frenkie de Jong had been tripped by substitute Moussa Sissoko.

 

What does it mean? Netherlands becoming a force once again

Many were quick to write off Netherlands' chances when the groups were revealed, but it has proven itself to be a match for anyone. Youthful, vibrant and full of flair, the Oranje are starting to look like their old selves again and could make the Finals depending on their result against Germany.

They are a point behind world champion France with that Germany game in hand.

What's next?

Netherlands' final Nations League match takes it to Gelsenkirchen to face Germany on Monday. France will be an interested observer in that one, and is then in action itself in a friendly clash with Uruguay – which it beat in the World Cup quarterfinals – a day later.

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