Payet can demonstrate Euro credentials to Deschamps as Les Bleus go Dutch
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | March 24, 2016
Netherlands v France
- International friendly
- Friday, March 25th
- Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
- Amsterdam ArenA, Amsterdam
- Live on MUTV
Payet primed for France return
So, Didier Deschamps has climbed down and recalled West Ham United star Dimitri Payet to the France squad on merit before Euro 2016.
From the moment he signed for the Hammers last summer, he has been pressing his considerable claims for inclusion on Les Bleus’ roster. Payet was top creator in Ligue 1 in 2014/15, and has followed up on his domestic success with 11 goals and as many assists in all competitions for Slaven Bilic.
With the French travelling to an injury-hit Netherlands, who are soul-searching after failing to qualify for Euro 2016, Coral make the visitors 11/10 for victory in Amsterdam.
Payet is bound to get chances with Dutch defensive trio Ron Vlaar, Erik Pieters and Daryl Janmaat all out, and he is a tasty 2/1 anytime scorer chance for Les Bleus.
Perfect opportunity to give Kante a debut
Deschamps has also called up impressive Leicester City midfielder N’Golo Kante for the first-time and the top tackler is unlikely to get a better chance to make his international bow than this. He might even renew acquaintances with Georgino Wijnaldum after the above tussle.
With so many out at the back, the Netherlands may, like Manchester United, be forced to use the versatile Daley Blind in defence instead of in front of them. He’s hardly likely to argue the toss either, as his father Danny is Dutch national coach.
In possession of an attack-heavy engine room, which is in keeping with their football traditions, this Netherlands side are 5/2 outsiders to upset the Euro hosts.
Southampton’s Jordy Clasie is the only other anchorman option besides Blind junior, and the engine room battle looks already won by the visitors as it is hard to see Wesley Sneijder and Ibrahim Afellay, or young Ajax duo Davy Klaassen and Riechedly Bazoer doing much defending.
While graft is absent from the Dutch midfield, Les Bleus have it in abundance. Joining can-do Kante are Lassana Diarra and Blaise Matuidi, who scored when these two countries last met.
At 4/1 to repeat that feat anytime, what better way for magnificent Matuidi to celebrate winning Ligue 1 with PSG than an international goal?
There’s also a further Premier League presence available to Deschamps in the form of Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace) and Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle United).
Up front, Karim Benzema continues to be left out, so Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud, who has three in his last three caps, represents the main centre forward threat at 7/4 anytime.
Dutch defeat on cards
France haven’t won in the Netherlands since 1995, and this looks like their best opportunity because long-serving, familiar Dutch faces are absent.
Arjen Robben is rested and fellow forward Robin van Persie appears out of favour, while blunt instrument Nigel de Jong is in semi-retirement in the MLS.
Van Persie striking rival Klaas-Jan Huntelaar remains, however, and is the most fancied of the home forwards to score at 7/4.
Blind senior may blood AZ Alkmaar frontman Vincent Janssen after his 20-goal campaign for the Eredivisie outfit. At 9/4 to cap his bow by scoring anytime, Janssen also appeals 15/2 to net last.