Ronald Koeman says Netherlands have taken enormous steps after France win

Ronald Koeman says Netherlands have taken enormous steps after France win

The Netherlands have qualification for the Nations League semi-finals in their sights after beating France 2-0 on Friday to hand Didier Deschamps' side their first defeat since winning the World Cup.

"I did not expect that we would be the better team for ninety minutes", he told Dutch broadcaster NOS.

Georginio Wijnaldum scored just before halftime and Memphis Depay converted a late penalty as the Dutch dominated against the world champions, looking much changed from the side that missed out on the 2016 European Championship and the last World Cup in Russian Federation.

A Dutch draw in Germany on Monday would see them win the group.

Former Southampton and Everton boss Koeman praised the maturity of his players.

"I also did not expect to be able to read the whole match so well".

Wijnaldum's goal came practically at the midway point of a match dominated by the hosts, who have bounced back from the doldrums after failing to qualify for the World Cup.

More news: Spain reverses stance on Kosovo athletes in the country

Les Bleus, though, suffered their first defeat since being crowned world champions in Russian Federation in the summer - and their first competitive loss since June 2017 - when Georginio Wijnaldum helped Holland to a 2-0 win at De Kuip. We talk about it every time, that next step.

Netherlands were only denied an even bigger win by a strong performance from France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

"There was one team out there with a lot of desire, and we didn't have enough", he said.

The Dutch meanwhile peppered Lloris' goal from the off, with Wijnaldum forcing the France keeper's first save with just a minute on the clock following an impressive burst from star turn Depay. We played well from the beginning to the end. Lloris had to get down well to parry a late free kick past the post before again saving from the Lyon forward following a well-worked corner.

Ronald Koeman's side now just need a single point in the final group game as they face Germany away.

Depay said that the young team were on the right track.