France and Netherlands vie for final Group B berth
Sunday, July 17, 2016
France face the Netherlands on Monday needing a victory to pip their opponents to a semi-final spot from Group B, while section winners England tackle Croatia.
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- Standings: England 6pts, Netherlands 3, France 3, Croatia 0
- England through to semi-finals as group winners ahead of Monday's Group B deciders
- Netherlands lead France on goals scored so will clinch semi-final place with draw
- Third-placed team enter FIFA U-20 World Cup play-off on Thursday
- Croatia eliminated
Netherlands v France (Wald Stadion, Aalen, 12:00CEST)
Although a draw is enough for the Netherlands to reach the last four, defender Hidde ter Avest is expecting the Jong Oranje to be back to their best in front of goal against France. "England might have had more possession [in the Young Lions' 2-1 win against the Dutch on Friday], but we had the better chances," he said. "Then you have to do more with them, which is something we normally do."
France coach Ludovic Batelli is anticipating "a very tough test" in Aalen on Monday against the Netherlands, a game that Les Petits Bleus need to win to reach the last four. "We need to find a way past them. We'll be very well prepared, though."
- Will miss semi-final/World Cup play-off with booking: Kenneth Paal, Julian Lelieveld (Netherlands); Amine Harit, Clément Michelin, Jérôme Onguene, Denis Poha, Marcus Thuram (France)
England v Croatia (Albstadion, Heidenheim, 12:00CEST)
The first side to qualify for the semi-finals, England are "not done here yet" according to goalkeeper Freddie Woodman, as his side prepare to wrap up group duties against Croatia. "We set targets and we've got to go out now and achieve them."
To that end, the squad are taking confidence from their U17 finals win in Malta two years ago. "It's very similar and we can draw experiences from that tournament and use them in our favour. A lot of us have been in the situation before, and when we sit down for dinner, we speak about what happened with the U17s."
As for Croatia – already eliminated – they are aiming to ensure a lack of defensive focus does not spell a third consecutive defeat in Group B. "We lacked concentration," said forward Davor Lovren of his side's 2-0 defeat by France on Friday. "Unfortunately the lack of concentration cost us goals," echoed coach Ferdo Milin.
- Suspended: Martin Erlić (Croatia)
- Will miss semi-final with booking: Tammy Abraham, Dominic Solanke (England)