THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

25 March ~ Holland host France tonight in a friendly at the Amsterdam Arena – a match which is sure to be emotional, following the death of Johan Cruyff on Thursday.

Somewhat surprisingly, the two teams have not met at any World Cup finals, and Cruyff never played against France. Instead, their biggest matches have come in more recent European Championships. At Euro 2000 Holland, hosting jointly with Belgium, were drawn against world champions France in the group stages. Having both won their opening two games, 51,000 turned up to the Amsterdam Arena to see who would top the group.

Christophe Dugarry gave France the lead after just eight minutes with a header from a corner, before Dennis Bergkamp played through Patrick Kluivert, who levelled the scores. David Trézéguet turned in a Sylvain Wiltord shot to put France ahead again but in the second half a powerful free-kick from Frank de Boer made it 2-2. It was left to Boudewijn Zenden to latch on to a long punt forward by Holland keeper Sander Westerveld and finish cooly to seal the win for the hosts.

Holland beat Yugoslavia 6-1 in the quarter-finals but lost on penalties to Italy in the semis. France faired better, Trézéguet scoring a golden goal to beat Italy in extra time of the final and becoming the first team to hold both the European and world titles since West Germany in 1974.

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