Netherlands 0 France 0: Dutch left fuming after VAR controversy as wasteful French struggle without Mbappe

STOCKLEY PARK has gone on tour for the summer and brought Premier League chaos to the Euros.

After everybody had praised officials at this tournament for their use of VAR – the English arrived.

ReutersAntoine Griezmann missed a brilliant chance in the first half[/caption]

ReutersXavi Simons thought he scored a brilliant opener in the second half[/caption]

BBCDenzel Dumfries was caught in an offside position[/caption]

AFPKylian Mbappe missed the match due to his broken nose[/caption]

HOW has Antoine Griezmann not scored from there? #BBCEuros #Euro2024 #NEDFRA

— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) June 21, 2024

Another big chance goes begging for France.. #BBCEuros #Euro2024

— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) June 21, 2024

The Dutch think they have taken the lead but after a lengthy VAR check from the English officials, the goal is ruled out.

What did you make of it? #BBCEuros #Euro2024 #NEDFRA

— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) June 21, 2024

You can argue the toss on whether the duo of ref Anthony Taylor and VAR, Stuart Atwell, were right to rule out what would have been a winner for Xavi Simons.

But the clear fact is it should not take nearly three agonising minutes to work out if an offside player is getting in the way of a ball or not – well done lads, good process.

The dithering sucked the life out of a game that, while goalless, had bubbled nicely with chances at either end – and been well officiated, allowed to breathe, to that point.

Chances that, had they been taken, would have seen France win by a mile.

But that was their problem – the masked man, Kylian Mbappe, never came close to getting on.

France had feared Mbappe would be able to play no role in their biggest game of the group stages. But the Real Madrid-bound superstar recovered in time to be named on the bench – although his inclusion appeared to be simply mind games from boss Didier Decschamps.

Mbappe took his seat on the bench and did not move from it once – not even to warm up.

Aurelien Tchouameni, who has recovered from a foot injury, came into the side with Antoine Griezmann pushed into a more advanced role.


The France end of the Red Bull Arena was dotted with supporters wearing homemade versions of Mbappe’s mask, bearing the tricolore flag, his initials and number 10.

Ronald Koeman had demanded his Netherlands side show more bravery on the ball and brought in Jeremie Frimpong to add some more firepower to his forward line – Wout Weghorst remained on the bench despite his winner last time out.

Match Stats

The Bayer Leverkusen winger made an instant impact, driving beyond the French defence in the opening minute and forcing Mike Maignan to tip around the post.

There were fears that, having both got an opening day win in Group D, this could be a tame contest between two former winners.

But just minutes after Frimpong’s early effort, Bart Verbruggen was scrambling to push Griezmann’s dipping effort over his bar.

The Dutch had the greater backing in Leipzig and made a more threatening start, but France should have been ahead after 12 minutes,

Griezmann said ahead of the game that he wanted more touches of the ball – something he may have been regretting after dropping an absolute clanger.

Marcus Thuram played Adrien Rabiot clean through with a delightful backheel. Instead of slotting home the midfielder surprisingly prodded the ball left to Griezmann, who appeared surprised by the decision and instead of tapping into an empty net collapsed in a heap.

The Atletico Madrid man had the chance to make amends moments later when N’Golo Kante, superb once more, squared to him in the box but the shot was wide.

Both sides were at the same time wonderful and wasteful – some superb breaks were sparked by sloppy play on the ball from those in orange and in white.

It was making for a fine encounter.

Griezmann, captain for the night in Mbappe’s absence, was at fault on both sides. Wasting chances and gifting possession, but at the heart of most France openings – heading into Verbruggen’s hands from Adrien Rabiot’s cross just before the interval.

For all the chances created, France appeared to be lacking the efficient cutting edge Mbappe always carries.

They may have won the opener with an own-goal, but it was their captain’s work which forced it.

The profligacy continued after the restart, Rabiot scooping an effort into the sky from Dembele’s whipped cross before Thuram dragged one wide.

At least the French chances were still flowing – the Dutch struggled to get out of their own half for most of the second half.

France were getting closer. Tchoumeni headed narrowly over from Dembele’s corner – Griezmann should have scored again, fluffing his lines from yards out once more having been teed up by Kante.

Dembele then sent one whistling over the bar.

It looked as if the Netherlands had punished all those wasted chances when Simons smashed home, though after an interminably long VAR break the goal was ruled out for offside against Denzel Dumfries, who had been blocked Maignan from diving to stop the ball.

Just to rub it in for Simons, who had a disappointing first game, he was withdrawn once the decision had been confirmed.

Deschamps made his changes – but still Mbappe stayed fixed to his seat as Olivier Giroud and Kingsley Coman were sent on.

But the game never really got going after the disallowed goal. It is a result which really harms neither nation in their pursuit of qualification to the knockouts. The only real dent is on English officiating.

More to follow…


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