France Send Message to Contenders with Convincing Win Over Germany

The World Champions have spoken and have sent a clear message to all the Euro 2020 contenders. France conquered Germany’s home turf in Munich with a convincing win, courtesy of a Mats Hummels own goal. The scorecard read 1-0 for Didier Deschamps’ side but didn’t tell the full story as the French could have easily added one or two more to their tally.   

Germany did have their moments, but those were short-living outbursts punctuating France’s dominating performance. Kylian Mbappé confirmed he is a world class star – he was devastating every time he touched the ball. Next to him, Karim Benzema was a glad comeback among the Blues lines. Paul Pogba was also in one of his good nights.

The France – Germany match-up was arguably the most awaited confrontation in the Euro 2020 Group Stage, a new edition of what has by now become a classic in major international competitions.

Die Mannschaft and Les Bleus squared off in a World Cup 2014 Quarter-Final, with the Germans having the upper end. France had had their revenge two years later, beating them 2-0 in the previous Euro edition, and duly followed up on that tonight. 

There were all the ingredients for a spectacular showdown at the Allianz Arena in Munich. However, the game was slow to catch fire. It took 16 minutes before any of the keepers would be troubled. It was Manuel Neuer to dirt his gloves first, deflecting a Kylian Mbappé shot from the left side.

But once France started to push, the goal came as an almost immediate consequence. Paul Pogba sent a warning sign with a header that made a shiver run down Neuer’s spine. Then, 20 minutes after kick off, Lucas Hernandez was fast to pounce on a Pogba lobbed cross and whip the ball into the middle of the box, prompting Mats Hummels’ clumsy own goal in an attempt to anticipate Mbappé.

Germany reacted immediately but only gained a couple of free kicks from some interesting positions that were poorly converted by Thomas Muller and Toni Kroos respectively. France didn’t have any more chances until half time but gave the impression they could turn the tides by any minute. Whenever Mbappé accelerated on the left flank, he seemed unstoppable.

On 37 minutes, Germany had their clearest opportunity as a Serge Gnabry acrobatic service for Ilkay Gundogan put the Manchester City midfielder in condition to shot. His conclusion, though, didn’t live up to the expectations.

Those expecting a German reaction after the restart were surprised to see Les Blues continue to attack. After Hummels somehow managed to block another Mbappé incursion into the box, Adrien Rabiot was picked by Pogba with another sublime service but hit the post with his shot from close range.

That was the signal the Mannschaft needed to wake up: From a Robin Gosens service, Gnabry’s volley ended just a few inches above the woodwork. Then, it was up to Hugo Lloris to block a progression into the box from the Bayern Munich winger. 

The German outburst lasted 10 minutes – that’s how much it took for Kylian Mbappé to receive a pass, confuse the whole German defense with a string of feints and curl the ball into the bottom right corner of the net. Absolutely brilliant. Too bad that the PSG jewel was caught offside and his magic was thus disallowed. 

On 77 minutes, another spectacular action: Mbappé mercilessly dashed past Hummels on the counter and seemed destined to go one-on-one with Neuer, but the defender miraculously bounced back and stopped the Frenchman with a perfectly-timed slide tackle.

France should have had their second but Karim Benzema was also caught offside as he pushed a Mbappé pass into the back of the net. The two beautifully danced along the offside line but were an inch beyond that according to the VAR, which corrected the referee’s initial allowance of the goal.

Coach Joachim Low had tried to reshuffle his offensive cards sending in Timo Werner and Leroy Sané but neither of the two had enough time to make an impact. It was France to grab the three points and deservedly so. 



June 15, 2021 – European Championship 2020 Group F

SCORERS: 20′ Hummels o.g.

FRANCE (4-3-3): Lloris; Pavard, Varane, Kimpembe, L. Hernandez; Pogba, Kanté, Rabiot (93′ Dembélé); Mbappé, Benzema (88′ Tolisso), Griezmann (Mandanda, Maignan, Lenglet, Lemar, Giroud, Zouma, Digne, Coman, Ben Yedder, Koundé) Coach: Deschamps
GERMANY (3-4-3): Neuer; Ginter (88′ Emre Can), Hummels, Rüdiger; Kimmich, Kroos, Gündogan, Gosens (88′ Volland); Müller, Gnabry (72′ Werner), Havertz (72′ Sané) (Leno, Trapp, Halstenberg, Sule, Klostermann, Neuhaus, Koch, Gunter) Coach: Low

REFEREE: Del Cerro Grande (Spain)
NOTES: Yellow Card: Kimmich (G); Extra Time: 1st Half 1′, 2nd Half 6′