VIRGIL van Dijk delivered a consummate performance for the Netherlands this evening, but could not prevent them from suffering a 1-0 defeat to France in a World Cup 2018 qualifier. 

Jose Fonte meanwhile played the whole match as Portugal battered the Faroe Islands 6-0.

Saints central defender Van Dijk started his third match in a row and was highly impressive for the Netherlands in central defence, but couldn’t stop them dropping below France in Group A.

Ex-Saints goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg, who now plays for Everton, should have done better with Paul Pogba’s decisive long range strike on the half hour mark.

The Manchester United midfielder’s 30-yarder proved to be too powerful, handing Les Bleus a lead they would not let go of.

Another Saint, Jordy Clasie, watched from the bench as the Dutch suffered their first defeat of their qualifying campaign, which sees them drop to third behind the French and Sweden.

There weren’t such problems for Fonte and Portugal in the Faroe Islands.

The Euro 2016 champions sauntered to victory, slamming home six goals for the second successive game.

The Saints skipper played the entire match in central defence as Portugal mauled the island minnows.

Porto star Andre Silva netted a hat-trick to put the visitors 3-0 up at the break, before Cristiano Ronaldo, Joao Moutinho and Joao Cancelo completed the rout.

Portugal smashed Andorra 6-0 in their qualifier prior to this one, but despite their imperious form remain second in Group B behind Switzerland.

Cedric Soares, the Saints right-back, was not involved in Portugal’s latest matches because of an injury he picked up at Leicester.