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Barcelona’s Jules Kounde plays strong 90 minutes as France waste big chances and high-profile Euro 2024 clash with Netherlands ends goalless

One of the most anticipated Euro 2024 group stage games ended goalless as Jules Kounde’s France and the Netherlands shared the spoils in Leipzig in a match that was mostly slow and uneventful but still had big chances and a big refereeing controversy. Both teams are pretty much through to the Round of 16 with a point, and Robert Lewandowski and Poland are officially eliminated with a game to spare.

The opening period was quite cagey as neither team was too eager to take risks and the Netherlands surprisingly decided not to fight for possession and instead sat back, gave more of the ball to France and looked to create chances on the counter. The plan didn’t quite work thanks to poor decision-making up front, with a shot from Cody Gakpo that required a good save from Mike Maignan perhaps their best moment of the half.

Les Bleus on the other hand struggled to turn their superior possession into real opportunities, though Adrien Rabiot did miss a massive chance when he was played through on goal and shockingly passed on a tap-in to try and give the ball to Antoine Griezmann instead. France wasted other good attacks with poor passes and touches in the final third, and a slow-paced game crawled into the break with no goals and a hope for more quality from either side in the second half.

The start of the final period featured more of the same, with France’s slow possession making it easy for the Dutch who remained comfortable in their shape and still tried to create on the counter. Slowly but surely, however, France’s pace and quality started to take over and their play became more dangerous as we went past the hour mark.

Griezmann missed perhaps the best chance of the game in the 65th minute, and France’s goal seemed like a matter of time. Then Xavi Simons seemingly scored against the run of play in his club home stadium, but the goal was disallowed for a controversial offside on Denzel Dumfries.

The Oranje had a legitimate gripe with the officiating and were the better side in the minutes following their disallowed goal, and Ronald Koeman made four changes in a short space of time trying to freshen up the team and look for the all-important opener. France responded to the Dutch attacks with a few strong moments of their own, and the game finally came to life in the dying minutes.

There was no late winner, however, and the first goalless draw of Euro 2024 came between two nations who usually score loads of goals. But there were big chances missed by the French and a very controversial disallowed goal for the Dutch, and the point means a place in the knockout stages for both and Poland officially eliminated.

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