France and Germany will clash at the Football Arena Munich on Tuesday in the first fixture of the Group of Death at the Euro 2020 Championship tournament. Reigning world champions France are on a quest to win the European Championship after finishing as runners-up in the tournament in 2016 when they lost to Portugal. The Germans will be hoping to get a positive start to brighten their prospects in the tightly-contested Group F.
With both finalists of the 2016 edition of the tournament clashing along with Germany, the Group of Death will feature the most unpredictable and exciting matches during the group stages. Here’s our preview of Tuesday’s fixture between France and Germany:
There is no denying the fact that Les Bleus are the most dominant team heading into the Euros, and even the Group of Death isn’t enough of an obstacle to subdue their fortunes. Les Bleus have won five of their last six fixtures, and enter the competition in superb form. Didier Deschamps is a man on a mission, and he will be keen to play daring attacking football that destabilises the opposition throughout the night. His 4-3-1-2 formation with Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe up front, a combination of experience and youth that is a potent force for goals.
N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba have shone in recent fixtures, both for club and country, and they will play a crucial part in piling pressure on an especially weak German midfield. Karim Benzema has returned to the squad after a gap of four years but is unlikely to feature in the starting XI on Tuesday due to injury concerns. Antoine Griezmann was seen with a calf injury during training, but he should recover in time for the fixture.
Germany might have been one of the world’s best teams once upon a time, but their glory days seem to be behind them. Since their World Cup victory in 2014, Joachim Low’s side have been unable to continue their dominance on the world stage. Their run at the Euros came to a grinding halt in the semifinals in 2016, when they were handed a resounding defeat by Les Bleus. They crashed out of the group stages of the FIFA World Cup in 2018, losing to minnows like South Korea.
Joachim Low will be keen to make one last impression at the Nationalmannschaft before he departs at the end of the tournament. Germany’s 7-1 victory over Latvia might project the team as stronger than it actually is – they had to contend with a draw against Denmark and lost to minnows North Macedonia the month before. Timo Werner will be the key to their prospects, while Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry have to click on the wings. Manuel Neuer has a tough task ahead of him to fend off Mbappe and Griezmann, and he will need a lot of help from his defence.
HEAD TO HEAD
The overall head to head between both sides is in favour of Les Blues, with 14 victories over their neighbours from 31 encounters. The Germans have prevailed on 10 occasions, with the remaining seven fixtures ending in a draw. Notably, France have not lost to Germany in their last five encounters, drawing two games and winning the other three, including the most recent fixture in the UEFA Nations League. In their only meeting in the semifinals of the European Championships in 2016, France defeated Germany 2-1 on their road to the final.
WHAT TO EXPECT
The odds are clearly stacked in favour of Les Bleus, and it will be a difficult task for the Germans to hold off Deschamps’ men. The only way for Die Mannschaft to deal with the world champions is to score early and focus on defending using the 3-4-3 formation that they have shifted to. But with the likes of Kante and Pogba in the midfield, four players might not be enough for the Germans to dominate the centre.
Expect Les Bleus to come out with a victory to start their championship run.
France Predicted XI: Lloris, Pavard, Varane, Kimpembe, Hernandez, Kante, Pogba, Rabiot, Griezmann, Giroud, Mbappe
Germany Predicted XI: Neuer, Hummels, Ginter, Rudiger, Kimmich, Kroos, Gundogan, Gosens, Muller, Gnabry, Werner.
When: Wednesday, 16 June 2021, 12:30 AM IST
Where: Football Arena Stadium, Munich.
Where to Watch: All Euro 2020 Matches will be streamed live on Sony Six HD and Sony Liv app.