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Netherlands France - Combined XI
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Netherlands v France: All-Time Combined XI

It’s a battle of the titans in Group D as the Netherlands and France go head-to-head in Leipzig at Euro 2024.

France have been the dominant force in this meeting over recent years, winning seven of the last eight encounters, and Les Bleus are 13/10 favourites to prevail in the contest.

The Netherlands will be keen to avenge their defeats to the French in qualifying and the Oranje are 23/10 to triumph, while the draw is priced at 11/5.

Two nations with a proud history, both have produced a substantial catalogue of elite players over the years – which makes this combined XI extremely tough to pick.

From members of Rinus Michels’ ‘Totaalvoetbal’ Dutch side to France’s World Cup winners, this team is littered with world-class talent.

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Lining up in a 4-3-3 formation...

GK - Edwin van der Sar

An influential figure in Ajax’s golden generation, a key component in Manchester United’s 2007/08 double and one of the most decorated goalkeepers to grace the game.

Van der Sar made 130 appearances for the Oranje and earned an abundance of individual accolades for both club and country across a 21-year career.

Even in his late 30s he was still performing at an elite standard and was named UEFA Club Goalkeeper of the Year in 2009.

RB - Lilian Thuram

One of the greatest defenders of all time and was France’s leading appearance holder until Hugo Lloris surpassed him in 2022.

Thuram was the face of a formidable French backline in the 1998 World Cup, one that conceded just two goals in the entire tournament as the host nation reigned supreme.

His longevity saw him captain France at Euro 2008 and his club career wasn’t too bad either, winning trophies with Parma, Juventus and Barcelona.

CB - Jaap Stam

Ruthless, bold and intimidating, Jaap Stam had all of the physical and psychological attributes that you would want in a central defender.

He was strong, he was quick; but he wasn’t all brawn. There was a delightful elegance to him when in possession.

He remains one of the greatest centre-backs to have graced the Premier League, even if his stint in England was relatively brief. He was the foundation of the treble winners, relentless in his pursuit of success.

CB - Marcel Desailly

So good that he could operate at a world-class level in two different positions.

Two-time winner of the Champions League with Marseille and Milan, Desailly was an instrumental figure in France’s 1998 World Cup success and Euro 2000 triumph.

An imposing presence who relished a thunderous challenge, the defender was nigh-on impenetrable on his day.

LB - Ruud Krol

An integral feature of the ‘Total Football’ Netherlands side of the 1970s, Krol was lauded for his versatility but it was at left-back with Ajax where he established himself as one of the best defenders in Europe.

Technically astute with great composure and vision, Krol’s superior football IQ elevated the expectations of defenders when in possession.

The likes of Marius Tresor and Patrice Evra also vying for a spot in this side, but Krol gets the nod.

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DM - Frank Rijkaard

Intelligence and technicality combined with an exotic flair, Rijkaard was a pioneering defensive midfielder who could play between the lines and provide a layer of steel before the rearguard.

Featuring prominently in the Netherlands’ 1988 European Championship winning side, Rijkaard finished third in the Ballon d’Or two years running.

Even in the twilight of his career, his influence was unrestrained as he helped to orchestrate Ajax’s famous 1994/95 season. Fittingly, his final professional game was a Champions League final triumph.

CM - Michel Platini

One of only five players to have won the Ballon d'Or three times, Platini is regarded as one of the most talented individuals to have graced the game and arguably France’s greatest player.

Formidable from set-pieces, Platini’s precision, exquisite control and remarkable intelligence enabled him to carve opposition defences at will.

He inspired France to Euro glory in 1984 and a year later, was at the forefront of Juventus’ first success in the European Cup.

CM - Zinedine Zidane

Very few players have exhibited as much flair and creativity as ‘Zizou’.

Former Blackburn owner Jack Walker famously turned down the opportunity to sign Zidane in preference of Tim Sherwood; how unlucky were we that we never got to witness the Frenchman’s splendid charm in the Premier League.

A three-time FIFA World Player of the Year winner and the 1998 Ballon d'Or recipient, his accolades are endless.

His CV as a manager isn’t too bad, either.

RW - Kylian Mbappe

Only the second player in World Cup history to score a hat-trick in the final, Kylian Mbappe is made for the grandest of stages.

His electrifying speed make him a daunting prospect for even the quickest defenders. Combine that with an elegant touch and predatory instincts, he’s a frightening prospect who will intimidate opponents for many years to come.

Now at Real Madrid, Mbappe’s latest chapter will be his most exciting yet.

ST - Marco van Basten

283 club goals in 379 appearances across a 14-year career for Ajax and Milan; Marco van Basten’s goal record speaks for itself.

If you were to model the complete striker, Van Basten is as close as you can get. He boasted style, precision, substance and confidence, a clinical figure with an array of goals in his locker.

A three-time Ballon d’Or winner and conqueror of Europe with both club and country, the only blemish on Van Basten’s career was how early it ended, with the prolific striker forced to retire aged 28 with a severe ankle injury.

LW - Johan Cruyff

A revolutionary figure who made the beautiful game simply irresistible.

Johan Cruyff's work as a coach enhanced his legacy but his pedigree as a player was enough to mark him as one of the most influential figures in the history of football.

An artist with the ball at his feet, Cruyff's wizardry was at the heart of three consecutive European Cup wins with the great Ajax team of the 1970s and a World Cup final with the Netherlands in 1974.

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