France vs Germany: Context
The group of death will give fans a taste of what is to come in the later rounds of the tournament as heavyweights clash on the opening matchday of group F.
It is a very simple situation for all of Germany, France and of course Portugal. Win at all costs or face dropping out before the tournament has already begun.
For France, they are the clear favourites being World Champions and the pressure will be on them to put on a dominant showing.
Germany’s coach Joachim Low has a world title to his name with Germany however a vastly less experienced and arguably less threatening side at his disposal. Low will leave Germany after the tournament and will not want to see it end at the first stage of the competition.
France vs Germany: H2H
The two sides have a very long-fought history. They have met 31 times with France winning 14, Germany 10 and 7 ties were unable to be won.
More recently, the French have dominated the proceedings. Unbeaten in the last 5, winning 3, France have the Euro edge on their side.
At their home tournament in 2016, the pair met in the semi-final and two strikes from Antoine Griezmann were enough to see them reach the final stage. The Barcelona forward will once again be hoping for a similar outcome.
Germany’s last victory came in the 2014 World Cup quarter-final after a Mats Hummels early header beat Hugo Lloris to send them on their way to a tournament win.
France vs Germany: Key battles
There are many rivalries resuming in the tie. Griezmann will again face Manuel Neuer and Hummels in the German back line. Hoping to repeat his brace in 2016.
Low has interestingly been testing a 3 at the back system with Hummels’ lack of athleticism compensated for with additional support.
However, Griezmann will now be partnered by the mercurial Kylian Mbappe which will test the German defence to the maximum.
For France, they will need to contend with the Champions League final goalscorer Kai Havertz and Bayern Munich’s golden boy Serge Gnabry. Both entering their first major international tournament, hoping to make it a memorable one against Raphael Varane and Presnel Kimpembe.
In the middle, it is unlikely that Leon Goretzka will be available and so Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan will resume his UCL final battle with Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante.
Finally, there are plenty of battles within France’s own attack right now, with Olivier Giroud at the cente.
Giroud and Karim Benzema have an issue after the Real Madrid striker called himself “a Formula One car” while labelling the Chelsea attacker a “go-kart”.
More recently, France’s final days of preparation have been upset by a new feud between Giroud and Mbappe.
Giroud intimated that Mbappe didn’t supply him with enough of the ball during a 3-0 win over Bulgaria.
That prompted the usually camera-shy Mbappe to hold a rare press conference this week, where he said:
Making it [the argument] public…I would have preferred to let him come and be even more vocal in the changing room. It’s happened to me. We have known each other for a while.
You know what I am like in the changing room. If I have something to say to someone I say it. That’s not a problem but it stays in the changing room. But it’s not a problem, these are small trifles.
And I don’t want this preparation, which has started well – because we have played some good matches – to be spoiled or for the squad to be affected because the squad doesn’t need this. We have some difficult challenges to face and we don’t need to create our own obstacles.
France vs Germany: The subplots
For Thomas Muller and Mats Hummels, this is a tournament that at one time may never have been. Joachim Low made the decision to announce he would not be calling up the pair, along with Jerome Boateng after the embarrassment of the 2018 World Cup exit.
It was a decision which Bayern Munich, the club where all three played at the time, were not happy about. However, both Hummels, now back at Borussia Dortmund, and Muller have been excellent for their sides. So much so that they left Low no choice but to make a U-turn on his decision and they will be hoping to further ram the point home with strong displays in the opening fixture.
France vs Germany: Predicted line-ups
France: Lloris, Pavard, Varane, Kimpembe, Hernandez, Kante, Pogba, Tolisso, Griezmann, Mbappe, Benzema
Germany: Nueur, Hummels, Ginter, Rudiger, Kimmich, Kroos, Gundogan, Gosens, Muller, Havertz, Gnabry
Football Live streaming: Featured matches on June 15