Netherlands vs France: Griezmann takes center stage amid Mbappe’s injury

Mbappé’s absence shifts the focus

France took the field on Friday evening without Kylian Mbappe and the star striker’s absence could be the biggest factor in the match. Manager Didier Deschamps will lead the attack lesson Bleus reform and there are several knock-on consequences that gamblers need to take into account.

The broken nose that will keep Mbappe out of this and possibly France’s final group match against Poland – he would have to return in a face mask if and when France reach the knockout stages – means a handful of markets would have no appeal if the Real Madrid-bound superstars on the field suddenly become interesting.

Back Griezmann to shine

Many of these markets concern Antoine Griezmann. The Euro 2016 top scorer was already a key figure for France, but takes on even more significance now that Mbappe is sidelined.

The first thing to note is that, with Mbappe ruled out, Griezmann becomes France’s penalty taker. In one fell swoop, this change in status increases his chances of shots on target, shots on target and also of scoring his first goal of the competition.

The second thing to note is that Mbappe’s absence creates more space in the final third. The other French attackers will step up and take more responsibility in front of goal, and Griezmann will be central to that. Without having to concentrate on creating chances for Mbappe, he will be more likely to find the net himself.

A third factor is that Mbappe’s likely replacement is Olivier Giroud. The AC Milan striker has an almost telepathic relationship on the pitch with Griezmann, thanks to the pair playing in the national team colors so often over the years. The understanding and especially the one-twos that the duo likes to play ensure that Griezmann probably ends up in scoring positions more often than when Mbappé is on the field.

We expect Griezmann to have better scoring opportunities in this match than in France’s opener against Austria (when he managed two off-target attempts in that match). He is 16/54.20 to score, 1/12.00 to have one or more shots on goal, And 10/111.91 to match his output in the first game by having two or more shots on target. The options of one shot on goal and two or more shots on goal appeal to us. We recommend choosing one of the two as your main selection in the game.

Gakpo a marked man

Almost as attractive as Griezmann is Cody Gakpo on the shot market. He was the Netherlands’ ‘shot monster’ in their opening match against Poland, topping their shots list with five attempts on target (two on target).

Gakpo should be a threat again here, but we expect France to deal with him more effectively than Poland. If the Liverpool man starts on the left wing again as expected, his direct opponent will be Jules Kounde, and the Barcelona defender produced arguably his best ever performance for France in their opener against Austria. His defensive anticipation, defensive tenacity and the intensity of his sprints were all better than we’ve seen before.

France’s right-wing centre-back Dayot Upamecano should also provide better secondary cover than Poland did when Gakpo cut in to get in sight of the goal. Gakpo’s chances are 4/71.57 Two or more shots on target will appeal to many, given his performance on the first day of play. However, France’s superior defensive strength puts us off, especially since he comes at a significantly lower price than Griezmann the same market.

Float around the most important markets

In the popular markets, France is 2.47/5 to win, while the Netherlands is 3,412/5 and the draw is 3.45. These prices seem about right, so we like to avoid them. The same applies to the main target markets: Under 2.5 Targets is 1.9110/11 while more than 2.5 goals is 2.0811/10. Due to the uncertainty about how many goals France will score without Mbappe, we prefer to leave this market alone.

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