International Friendly: France 2 Netherlands 0
By Football News
France recorded their first win over the Netherlands since 1997 courtesy of goals from Karim Benzema and Blaise Matuidi on Wednesday.
After failing to convert earlier openings at the Stade de France, Benzema opened the scoring just after the half-hour mark with a clinical half-volley from 15 yards.
And Matuidi's first international goal made it 2-0 before the break, with the Paris Saint-Germain midfielder capping off a fine flowing move with a sumptuous finish.
France were by far the better side throughout the contest and would have further enhanced the scoreline had Raphael Varane not wasted a good opportunity in the second half.
The Netherlands, who saw Kevin Strootman taken off with an injury in the first period, struggled to create any chances of note, much to the frustration of coach Louis van Gaal.
A cautious start to the game saw 19 minutes go by before the first shot on target, but Benzema was unlucky not to open the scoring when it finally arrived.
Mathieu Valbuena's cross from the right found debutant Antoine Griezmann at the back post, with the Real Sociedad man cushioning a volley to Benzema only for his header from six yards to be blocked by Ron Vlaar.
Just before the half-hour mark, Hugo Lloris was called into action for the first time as Robin van Persie controlled a right-wing corner at the back post and lashed a shot towards goal that the Tottenham keeper parried before Vlaar scooped the loose ball over the crossbar.
Having wasted his first chance, Benzema then made no mistake with a superb finish on 32 minutes.
The Real Madrid striker outpaced Bruno Martins Indi to latch on to a throughball from Paul Pogba and fired the ball across Cillessen into the far corner without breaking stride.
And France doubled their lead four minutes before the break, with a flowing move resulting in Matuidi's maiden goal for his country.
Benzema released Valbuena on the right, before the Marseille forward chipped his cross into the penalty area for Matuidi to acrobatically volley past Cillessen.
Varane should have followed his club-mate Benzema onto the scoresheet on 59 minutes as he wriggled free in the penalty area to meet a Valbuena cross.
The defender got ahead of his marker but his off-target header failed to test Cillessen.
Second-half changes saw the game lose some of its momentum, and while France continued to pose the greater threat, genuine chances were few and far between.
Substitute Franck Ribery nearly capped an impressive performance from Didier Deschamps' men with a late goal, but the Bayern Munich forward saw his low drive from the edge of the penalty area smothered by Cillessen.