World Cup champion France missed out on a chance clinch first place in its UEFA Nations League group and will have to watch and hope for help from a famous adversary after losing to the Netherlands 2-0 on Friday in Rotterdam.
Georginio Wijnaldum's 44th-minute goal was the difference before Memphis Depay tacked on a penalty kick at the death, giving the resurgent Dutch an impressive win and a chance to win the group. France, which had its 15-match unbeaten run snapped, still leads Group 1 in League A by one point, but it has played all four group matches. The Netherlands can win the group with a draw or win vs. Germany on Tuesday. The Germans, meanwhile, were relegated to League B with the result and can only have a say on which of the other two nations goes to the summer semifinals.
France had won the first meeting between the two in September, when Olivier Giroud scored the game-winner in the 74th minute in Paris in a 2-1 result, but the Netherlands' 2-0 result would give the Oranje the tiebreaker on goal differential between the two sides should it come into play.
After Hugo Lloris was forced into a second-minute save on Friday, France had its best chance to strike first when Antoine Griezmann snapped down a header from 10 yards out, only for Jasper Cillessen to make a clean, diving save in the 10th minute.
The Dutch came back with another chance of their own few minutes later, when Memphis Depay took a ball down off his chest and whipped in a quick shot on target, though Lloris got down and made the save without conceding a rebound.
The match remained in the middle third for the next quarter of an hour before World Cup standout fullback Benjamin Pavard nearly unleashed another memorable strike. The player whose goal won honors for the top strike in Russia ran onto a loose ball some 20 yards out and uncorked a vicious first-time shot, narrowly missing the crossbar as Cillessen went flying in desperation to try and stop it.
The Netherlands took the lead just before halftime. After France failed to deal with a cross, Lloris made a kick save on a close-range shot from Ryan Babel, but he yielded a rebound for Wijnaldum. The Liverpool midfielder's first-time effort from 11 yards out hit the back of the net to open the scoring in the 44th minute.
The hosts looked the more likely to score and double their lead, and it nearly came through Denzel Dumfries just after the hour mark. The surging right back had a flying header denied by Lloris and then a follow-up shot turned away at the near post, with the double save keeping France within one goal.
Lloris then came up big again in the 73rd minute to deny Memphis off a free kick. His powerful blast from 20 yards curled around the wall, but Lloris was equal to it, diving to his left to make the save.
Memphis tested Lloris a minute later with a low blast from close range, but the France goalkeeper, again, came up with the save.
Lloris did it again in stoppage time, diving to his right to keep out a Frenkie de Jong blast from long range that would have put the game on ice. But that moment came 30 seconds later, when the Dutch were awarded a penalty. Memphis coolly chipped it down the middle, securing the result.
Here were the lineups for both sides:
No team has clinched a place in the Nations League semifinals yet. Portugal is in prime position to do so from Group 3, while Belgium will face Switzerland for the right to advance from Group 2. Group 4 is wide open, with Croatia and England playing for the right to advance. If they draw, then Spain will reach the semis.