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Paul Pogba sets a new standard with scintillating display versus Netherlands

The FC crew discuss the fall of the Netherlands and the rise of France following France's 1-0 victory in Group A over the Dutch.

It was, as Paul Pogba's international captain Hugo Lloris all too happily put it, "the perfect response."

After dominating discussion in the buildup to France's match away to the Netherlands -- mostly because a poor performance against Bulgaria had led manager Didier Deschamps to state "he can and must to better" -- the Manchester United man then went and dominated this match in Amsterdam.

It was not just about Pogba's 30th-minute long-range strike that eluded the fingertips of Dutch goalkeeper...

Pogba stars as France earn World Cup win vs. Netherlands

The FC crew discuss the fall of the Netherlands and the rise of France following France's 1-0 victory in Group A over the Dutch.

AMSTERDAM -- Three points on France's 1-0 win vs. the Netherlands on Monday in World Cup qualifying.

1. Pogba guides France to victory

Paul Pogba finally took centre stage and France take command of Group A. The world-record signing scored a rasping 30-yard, 30th-minute drive to give manager Didier Deschamps' side a 1-0 win. But goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg probably should have saved the effort, and that moment summed up the game.

The French didn't need to be anywhere near their best to win....

Wayne Rooney captain debate is silly, Kimmich ace for Germany, Spain OK

ESPN FC's Craig Burley says Wayne Rooney's current form and style of play slow down the youngsters in the England squad.

One of the side effects of living in London and caring about football is that you're never far away from the Wayne Rooney debate. That applies to both versions: the Manchester United one and the England one, which has the delightful coda of also being a captaincy debate.

With this being an international break, the focus was firmly on the latter. Some papers called for him being stripped of the captaincy in favor of John Stones. Others revealed that he was going to be dropped for Tuesday's clash...

Netherlands vs. France showcases two teams at different stages of progress

Didier Deschamps and Hugo Lloris discuss tactics and team shape ahead of their WCQ match against the surging Netherlands.
Netherlands coach Danny Blind sees flaws in France that his side can expose in World Cup Qualifying.

On the eve of a match that will reveal so much about where both the Netherlands and France stand as teams, Dutch manager Danny Blind was willing to speak with surprising stridency. Most managers try to avoid saying too much before such games. They want to keep a few tactical secrets, and there's always the potential that your words are thrown back at you or motivate the opposition. But the former centre-half didn't seem concerned by that. He went into specifics about how his side can beat the French.


Johan Cruyff's renowned methods remembered in autobiography

ESPN FC's Gabriele Marcotti shares his thoughts on legacy of Dutch footballing legend Johan Cruyff.

LONDON -- Johan Cruyff did not lead a life that allowed for many regrets, but if the Dutch icon had one then it was that he never got the chance to coach the Netherlands national team.

Cruyff remodelled both Ajax and Barcelona as a player and manager, but his career with the Oranje -- in a hands-on capacity at least -- was confined to his achievements in the No. 14 shirt.

That is not to say those weren't many, he captained the Netherlands to the 1974 World Cup final while pioneering a style of football...

Messi, Neymar, Pogba and Italy's teen sensation headline international break

Your favorite team's season has only just started up, you're psyched to see whatever new signings arrived in the final hours of the transfer window and -- boom! -- everybody leaves. They're off with their national sides and it will feel like an eternity without football.

Except you're not without football. It's just a different kind: same actors, different stage. Like seeing Bryan Cranston in the theater rather than cooking up some meth on your TV in "Breaking Bad." Truth be told, there's plenty...