Euro 2024

Les Bleus Eye Victory Against Poland, Netherlands in Must-Win Situation for Knockouts

Last Updated on June 25, 2024

France has been unstoppable as of now, not having been knocked out in the group stages of a major tournament since the 2010 World Cup. They will not want to disrupt the momentum and go for a win against Poland so as to progress onto the knockout stages of Euro 2024.

Though recent performances have been mixed—with a win against Austria and a draw against the Netherlands—they only need one more point to guarantee a top-two finish in Group D. A win could even see them top the group if the Netherlands lose. 

Meanwhile, Poland is eliminated already, losing to the Netherlands and Austria, and it is even worse now that their top striker Robert Lewandowski was in doubt for this game due to a thigh injury, although now it seems he will feature against Les Bleus. 

As for the French National team, they might have their important player Kylian Mbappéofter missing the previous match due to the broken nose. His return could switch their formation to a more aggressive 4-2-3-1. 

There’s added excitement since France could benefit from a big win due to goal difference considerations. Although manager Didier Deschamps can be cautious, he’s likely to adopt an attacking strategy against Poland in Dortmund, who are looking to save some face after a tough tournament. 

Historically, Poland has struggled in the Euros, having been knocked out in the group stages four times in the last five tournaments. Their recent loss to Austria sealed their fate and they’re not expected to trouble a motivated French squad looking to bounce back with a strong victory.

Yet, away to another different story. The Netherlands enter their final group stage game versus Austria having a bit of a grievance. They are top of Group D, but a highly controversial VAR ruling prevented them from taking the lead against France in their last game. The Oranje had already fallen behind in their Group D opener only to turn things around and emerge 2-1 winners over Poland. 

On the other hand, Austria are doing decently under the manager Ralf Rangnick. In their first match, they were unlucky to find themselves on the losing side against France (as a result of an own goal), but they got one over Poland via a comfortable 2–0 win. This makes for an exciting game in Berlin, as both teams are in desperate need of a point to make it into the no less important knockout stage.

The Dutch will be happy to have striker Brian Brobbey back, while Austria might need to adjust their defense because Gernot Trauner is injured. Austria may also prefer the younger Michael Gregoritsch in attack rather than the experienced Marko Arnautovic.

Historically, the Netherlands is strong in defense with a run of having seven clean sheets in their last nine games. However, the Dutch games have generally been low scoring as just one of their last eleven European Championship games has seen more than three goals. Austria tends to start quickly, scoring in the first ten minutes in five of their last six games. 

Their midfield, led by the in-form Christoph Baumgartner, looks stronger than the Dutch on paper. Austria’s recent friendly wins over Germany and Turkey add to their confidence. While France narrowly defeated Netherlands. Yet, another point was missed by Austria, and, of course, they will be seeking various gaps in the Netherlands’ players’ defense. If Austria won, they would become round two participants. 

Under these circumstances, France will intend to ensure their move to the knockout stages and may play aggressively against Poland. If Kylian Mbappé returns, Les Bleus will probably shift to a more defensively disadvantaged formation in order to gain an upper hand. 

Also, it is highly likely that Didier Deschamps’ men will become more focused on the goal difference due to their intentions to place first in Group D should the Dutch lose. On the other hand, the Polish side are already eliminated but should offer a decent performance playing for pride. Moreover, with their key player Robert Lewandowski available, they might turn out to be a challenging opponent.

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