France demonstrated the kind of character and self-belief that will surely serve them well at the European Championships this summer by defeating the Netherlands 3-2.
Despite being hit by an apparent sucker punch when Ibrahim Afellay equalised in the 86th minute, as the home side completed their comeback from being two goals down, France responded two minutes later as Blaise Matuidi secured a morale-boosting victory.
After a minute’s silence at the beginning of the match for the victims of the recent terrorist attacks in Belgium, France started strongly, and opened the scoring in the sixth minute when Antoine Griezmann hit a delicious free kick.
It was 2-0 seven minutes later when Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud finished from close range, making a mockery of the French side’s somewhat troubled build-up to the fixture with a valuable two-goal cushion.
In the 14th minute of the match, the contest was halted for a full 60 seconds as both sets of players and the fans in attendance at the Amsterdam ArenA paid their respects to Dutch master Johan Cruyff, who passed away on Thursday.
France appeared to be in cruise control until early in the second half, when Luuk de Jong finished from close range, although replays initially indicated that the ex-Newcastle United hitman had controlled the ball with his arm.
Didier Deschamps certainly thought so, and made no secret of his displeasure to the fourth official.
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Les Bleus thought they’d thrown it away when Afellay struck later after being afforded too much space outside the area, but France are clearly made of stern stuff, and Anthony Martial’s dribbling unsettled the Dutch defence moments later before Matuidi finished from close range.