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Netherlands vs France – Five memorable games

The Netherlands and France meet at the European Championship this evening with the neighbouring nations familiar opponents on the big stage.

Throughout the years there have been some memorable contests between the teams and ahead of their Euro 2024 showdown in Leipzig, we’ve remembered five of the very best.

Netherlands vs France – Five memorable games between the teams:

Netherlands 4-5 France – International friendly (1934)

The early encounters in this rivalry proved to be one-sided affairs with the Dutch dominant in the fixture. Each of the first four meetings ended in wins for the Netherlands, who racked up 21 goals in the process, including an 8-1 hammering of Les Bleus in 1923.

France finally recorded their first win during an end-to-end epic held in Geneva. The French could be forgiven for having a familiar feeling as the Netherlands raced into a 3-0 lead inside 12 minutes, as Leen Vente and Beb Bakhuys’ brace put the Oranje in control.

France fought back to level in a frantic start, however, as Fritz Keller issued an instant response and Jean Nicolas scored twice in a four-minute burst. Incredibly, at half-time, the score was 4-4 after further strikes for each side.

Nicolas hit his hat-trick on 76 minutes, as France edged a nine-goal thriller.

France 0-0 Netherlands, France win 5-4 on penalties – European Championship quarter-final (1996)

France bounced back from their disappointment at missing the 1994 World Cup to reach the semi-finals of Euro ’96, dumping out a heavily-fancied Dutch side on route to the last four.

The Netherlands had laboured through the group as runners-up to England, including a 4-1 defeat to the Three Lions at Wembley, despite boasting a squad stacked with players from Ajax’s 1994/95 Champions League winning team. Their second-placed finish handed the Oranje a tough test in the last eight as an improving France awaited at Anfield.


A cautious contest ended goalless after 120 minutes with neither side able to break the deadlock and it was Les Blues who won the shootout. Clarence Seedorf saw his spot-kick saved by Bernard Lama, earning France a semi-final clash with the Czech Republic.

Netherlands 3-2 France – European Championship group stage (2000)

Four years later, the Netherlands and France entered Euro 2000 as two of the tournament favourites. The French had won the World Cup on home soil in 1998, while the Dutch were co-hosting Euro 2000 with Belgium and boasted a squad stacked with talent.

Both teams had booked their place in the knockout rounds ahead of the final fixture of the group and it was the Netherlands who clinched top spot against a rotated France team. Christophe Dugarry and Patrick Kluivert exchanged goals inside the opening 25 minutes before David Trezeguet restored France’s lead before the interval.

The Netherlands came out after the break improved and Frank de Boer equalised with a thumping free-kick, setting the stage for Boudewijn Zenden to drill in a low finish and seal top spot for the hosts.

France 1-4 Netherlands – European Championship group stage (2008)

The Netherlands and France were pitted together in the tournament’s ‘Group of Death’ at Euro 2008, though the Dutch made a mockery of that suggestion with a stunning route to the knockout rounds.

After thrashing world champions Italy in their opener, the Netherlands repeated the feat against France in a ruthless performance in Bern. Dirk Kuyt headed the Oranje ahead early on and Robin van Persie doubled the lead just before the hour.

Thierry Henry pulled a goal back but Arjen Robben added a third for the Netherlands just seconds later. Wesley Sneijder sealed the win with a stunning fourth in stoppage time, as a clinical counter-attacking performance sent Marco van Basten’s team into the quarter-finals.

Netherlands 2-3 France – International friendly (2016)

France won a thriller on an emotional night in Amsterdam as the Dutch paid tribute to the recently passed Johan Cruyff. Dutch football’s most iconic name had passed away in the days leading up to the game and a standing ovation took place in the 14th minute, with Cruyff having famously worn that number during an iconic career with Ajax, Barcelona and the Netherlands national team.

On the pitch, France went two goals ahead inside 13 minutes through Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud, but the hosts fought back to level after half-time courtesy of goals from Luuk de Jong and Ibrahim Affelay. France – who had N’Golo Kante making his debut – found a winner through Blaise Matuidi in the 87th minute.

Embed from Getty Images

Read – Midfield Magicians: Wesley Sneijder, fleetingly great

See more – Iconic Performances: Peak Platini hits three in rout of Belgium at Euro ’84

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