Two European heavyweights come clashing down in the first match of Group F, otherwise known as the Group of Death!
No matter the context that it happens in or how on-form each team are, a match between France and Germany is always entertaining to watch. The contest has gotten even more intense in the past two decades as the two, seem to always compete for international titles, with France being slightly more successful in this period. But today's match tells of a different story, since the two teams couldn't be more far apart from each other in terms of form and recent success, at least on paper.
On one have we have France, who goes into the match as 2018 World Cup champions and 2016 Euro runner-ups, having one of the best squad of players in Euro 2020 and on the other hand there is Germany, who suffered a humiliating elimination in previous World Cup's group stages and have been struggling to find their form or even identity lately. So let us get down to the background and how these teams are faring going into this match as well as all the other nitty gritty details about the match.
The last two World Cup winners come together in the first match of group F while they’ve had different fortunes as of late. France are heavy favorites to win it going into the game but let’s examine the two teams’ situation and how they arrived at the Euros:
France is heavy favorites to win the Euro 2020 as they have dominated international competitions in the past five years. They have a squad of 14 World Cup winners alongside the addition of impressive young talents like Marcus Thuram, Kingsley Coman and Jules Kounde.
France qualified for the Euro 2020 by winning 8 of their 10 games, in a group that had the likes of Turkey and Iceland.Olivier Giroud
was their top striker in the group stages with 6 goals, as has been the case ever since Deschamps took over as France’s manager. Although that might change, now that Karim Benzema is back in France’s squad
Following Germany’s humiliating World Cup displays in 2018, Joachim Lowe attempted to rebuild his team for the Euros. He attempted so by leaving some of the old guard players like Muller, Ozil and Hummels out of his selection. But that rebuilding process hasn’t exactly worked out for Lowe.
Although they qualified quite comfortably for the Euros in a group that also had Netherlands, while Gnabry was their top scorer with 8 goals, the warning signs fordie Mannschaft
were there even at that stage. Their 4-2 dismantling at the hands of Netherlands eventually led them to one of their most embarrassing losses in November of last year, as Spain tore them apart 6-0. These results have made Lowe walk back on his decision to leave outMuller
, and the two are back in Germany's squad to bolster their chances for Euro 2020.
Now let’s move onto the France and Germany’s current form and their squad situation:
France is flying high into the Euros, having lost only one of their last 20 games.Les Bleus
will be trying to repeat what Thierry Henry and Co. did 20 years ago and win the European Championship on the back of a World Cup win.
The robust Ligue 1’s youth system has led to France having some of the world’s best players at practically every position. With players like Kimpembe and Pavard at the back,Kante
and Pogba in midfield and Benzema, Griezmann and Mbappe in attack, France is a frightening force to be reckoned with.
are no slouches either as they have players like Kimmich and Hummels at the back, Kroos and Gundogan in midfield with Muller alongside Gnabry in attack, led by their legendary goalkeeper,Manuel Neuer
Despite their 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Spain and their shock loss against North Macedonia at the end of March, the Germans will be looking to prove doubters wrong and actually try to win this match. Whether they could do it or not remains to be seen though, as they have little chance to do so on paper. But football is played on the pitch and not on paper!
The two teams have played together quite often in various competitions. France has the upper hand though, as they have won 14 of their 31 clashes overall, with Germany winning another 10. 7 games have ended in a draw.
In fact, the last time that Germany won against France was at the quarter-finals of the 2014 World Cup, where they won 1-0, with Mats Hummels scoring the only goal. Les Bleus took their revenge however in the last Euros, asGriezmann
scored two goals against Germany as France qualified for the final. The last 5 matches between the two have resulted in 3 defeats for Germany as well as two draws.
France will be playing its tried and tested 4-3-3 formation that turns into a 4-3-1-2 when they're in the attack. Kourt Zouma, who is out because of an injury, will be the only one absent from the squad and France’s possible starting line-up will be: Lloris; Pavard, Varane, Kimpembe, Hernández; Pogba, Kanté, Tolisso; Griezmann, Benzema, Mbappé.
Germany on the other hand will go with a 3-4-2-1 formation that sees Joshua Kimmich as a right-wing-back, although they have been struggling while playing with a 3-man defense. Their most notable absence is Leon Goretzka who is out with a muscle injury. Without him Germany’s possible starting line-up will be: Neuer; Ginter, Hummels, Rüdiger; Kimmich, Gündoğan, Kroos, Gosens; Havertz, Müller, Gnabry.
While France’s squad has a load of players who are stars in their own right, everyone will be looking at France’s Talisman, Kylian Mbappe. The PSG star had one hell of a World Cup at only 19 and continues to become better, season after season.Mbappe
will look to start the Euros strongly and this game is the perfect opportunity for him as he has always shown that he performs extremely well in big games.
While we previously highlighted Kimmich as one of Euro 2020’s top players, we think that with him moving to the wing-back position, much of Germany’s game plan falls on Thomas Muller’s experienced shoulders. The Bavarian has enjoyed a renaissance in the past couple of seasons and now is almost as good a playmaker as he is a striker, possibly even better. He’ll be in charge of Germany’s high press as well as creating space for Germany’s pacey wingers like Gnabry.
It’s hard to not sound arrogant while predicting the outcome of France vs Germany because a game like this depends on so much more than the two teams’ squads and their recent form. Actually, the fact that Germany is being underestimated by so many people could give them an edge going into this match. But we reckon that France’s squad of impressive players, their experience and overall top form will be too much for Germany to handle and France will come out on the top by the end, with perhaps a 2-0 victory!
The Spanish Referee, Carlos del Cerro Grande who refereed the last season’s Champions League matches between, Manchester City and Dortmund as well as Porto vs Juventus, will be officiating France vs Germany clash. Grande is a relatively inexperienced referee when it comes to big games but UEFA seems to believe in the 39-year-old.
Grande is accompanied by his team of compatriots, Juan Jimenez and Roberto Fernandez, as Assistant referees on the pitch with the fourth and fifth officials being the Serbian team of Srdan Jovanovic and Uros Stojkovic. Juan Martínez Munuera from Spain will be serving as the match’s Video Assistant Referee (VAR) and he is helped by Jose Martinez, Inigo de Cerain and Alejandro Hernandez, all from Spain.
Date: Tuesday, June 15
Kick off Time: 21 pm GMT
Location: Alianz Arena, Munich, Germany
Live stream: ITV Hub
Odds: France +170; Draw +220; Germany +190