Football Features

Netherlands 0-0 France player ratings: ‘Perfect’ N’Golo Kante shines again despite stalemate in Leipzig

By CJ Smith

Netherlands 0-0 France player ratings: N'Golo Kante shines again despite stalemate in Leipzig

Published: 22:13, 21 June 2024

The Netherlands and France played out a 0-0 draw in Leipzig on Friday that all but qualifies both for the round of 16.

A game that was billed as a mouth-watering clash of titans ended up producing the first goalless draw of Euro 2024 and in 50 games in the competition in general since England and Scotland’s stalemate at Wembley during the Euro 2020 group stage. Not helped, of course, with Kylian Mbappe remaining on the bench after breaking his nose against Austria.

Both sides had decent chances to win the match, while Xavi Simons was unlucky to see a goal disallowed for offside, with VAR deeming Denzel Dumfries interfered with French goalkeeper Mike Maignan from an offside position.

However, in the end, the two sides seemed happy to move onto four points each with one game to go, knowing they cannot finish lower than third while also ending Poland’s hopes of progression.

Here are the full player ratings for both nations:

Netherlands

Bart Verbruggen – 9/10 – Made a couple of vital saves to hold onto the clean sheet and a vital point for the Netherlands. His close-range stop to deny Griezmann was particularly impressive.

Denzel Dumfries – 5/10 – Unable to influence the game going forward as he normally does. Lost all six of his ground duels.

Stefan de Vrij – 7/10 – Solid again, just as he was for the most part against Poland.

Virgil van Dijk – 8/10 – Led the Dutch rearguard effort brilliantly. Made nine clearances and registered and lost just two of his six combined ground and aerial duels.

Nathan Ake – 6/10 – A little sloppy on the ball at times, which is unusual for any Manchester City defender. Made up for it by generally keeping Dembele quiet and dealing well with the PSG man’s pace.

Jerdy Schouten – 6/10 – Started well but was forced into a battling role as France grew into the game.

Tijjani Reijnders – 6/10 – Clean on the ball but just a little too safe with it.

Jeremie Frimpong – 6/10 – Incredibly dangerous with his pace behind in the early stages but faded out of the game far too quickly. In fairness, he was well-marshalled by Theo Hernandez and William Saliba.

Xavi Simons – 5/10 – Blew hot and cold but was desperately unlucky to see his strike chalked off by VAR. A moment that will divide opinion in the coming days.

Cody Gakpo – 7/10 – Wasn’t as effective as he was against Poland, but Gakpo was still one of the biggest Dutch threats, creating two chances and managing a shot on target from distance. Got through a lot of work without the ball.

Memphis Depay – 4/10 – Failed to offer much of anything, keeping well clear of any Dutch pressing and doing a poor job of holding the ball up.

Substitutes:

Georginio Wijnaldum (73′, for Simons) – 6/10 – Helped break up a few French attacks.

Joey Veerman (73′, for Schouten) – 6/10 – Did well with the ball when he came on.

Lutsharel Geertruide (73′, for Frimpong) – 6/10 – Completed all 20 of his attempted passes, but didn’t really do much with them.

Wout Weghorst (79′, for Depay) – 6/10 – Was more important with a couple of defensive blocks than providing his customary attacking threat from the bench.

France

Mike Maignan – 8/10 – Like Verbruggen, made some important stops to keep the game goalless.

Jules Kounde – 7/10 – Coped well with the pace of the Netherlands and even managed the odd foray into the final third.

Dayot Upamecano – 8/10 – Often maligned last season at club level, Upamecano was excellent here. Completed a match-high 113 passes, including 16 into the final third, at a 95% success rate, while also registering three recoveries, one tackle and one interception at the other end.

 William Saliba – 8/10 – Coped brilliantly with the pace of Frimpong early on and maintained that standard all night. Misplaced just one pass all game.

Theo Hernandez – 7/10 – Joined Saliba in silencing Frimpong. Couldn’t provide the attacking thrust he did against Austria, though.

N’golo Kante – 9/10 – Continues to just be brilliant at absolutely everything. Created three chances and played 12 passes into the final third with the ball, while making two tackles, four recoveries and a block without it. You might be surprised to hear he also had a 100% success rate in aerial duels, though he only contested one. Named Man of the Match by former teammate and BBC pundit Cesc Fabregas.

“Kante was everywhere. He plays forward and keeps moving, pass and go. The way he has improved in football, always moving forward. He was the man of the match without a doubt,” said Fabregas, with fellow pundit Wayne Rooney adding: “Kante is the perfect example of an all-round midfielder. He defends really well but he makes runs forward too.”

Aurelien Tchouameni – 7/10 – A welcome return to the French midfield. Was dynamic and forward-thinking throughout and was unlucky not to score with a header inside the box just after the hour mark.

Adrien Rabiot – 5/10 – On paper, Rabiot should get a good mark given he created a match-high four chances. But one of those chances was for Griezmann when he simply should have just stuck the ball away himself. His decision-making in the final third was frankly terrible, which is a shame because he was excellent otherwise.

Ousmane Dembele – 7/10 – Had to be patient for his moments, but provided a threat with his dribbling and crossing when he got the chance. A surprising decision to bring him off on 75 minutes.

Marcus Thuram – 5/10 – A couple of brief moments aside, Thuram was a bit of a passenger in this one.

Antoine Griezmann – 6/10 – Missed a couple of big chances to win the game, which marks him down on what was an otherwise very dynamic and dangerous performance.

Substitutes:

Olivier Giroud (75′, for Thuram) – 5/10 – Didn’t get into the game.

Kingsley Coman (75′, for Dembele) – 5/10 – Didn’t look as sharp as Dembele.

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