France are up and running at UEFA EURO 2020 after Mats Hummels’ first-half own goal proved enough to secure victory in the Group F opener with Germany – in truth, the margin could have been greater.
Match in brief
Germany started well in front of a partisan crowd in Munich, but France grew into the game and it was a man who now calls Bavaria home who fashioned the own goal on 20 minutes. Paul Pogba played a peach of a pass over to the left, where Bayern’s Lucas Hernández made a less assured connection but still caused enough panic to induce the mistake as Hummels speared into his own net.
From then on France were content to sit back, soak up the pressure and use Kylian Mbappé’s jet-heels on the counter. It was the Paris man’s cuter side that almost fashioned a second, releasing Adrien Rabiot for a near-post shot that beat Manuel Neuer but not the post.
Joachim Löw moved quickly, pushing Joshua Kimmich into midfield, and suddenly Germany were a renewed attacking force – Serge Gnabry came within a whisker of an equaliser. That was as good as it got, however, and France had two goals chalked off for Mbappé offsides as they nevertheless joined Germany’s next opponents Portugal on three points atop Group F.
Star of the Match: Paul Pogba (France)
“Outstanding with the ball, involved in the goal with a great pass behind Germany’s defence. Always an option and kept the ball. Most important player in central midfield. Always going forward and coming back to help Kanté. A really good performance with and without the ball.”
Steffen Freund, UEFA Technical Observer
David Crossan, France reporter
Didier Deschamps will be delighted with the winning start and with the defensive commitment of his star-studded forward line. In fact, each line of the team played with intelligence and discipline, and Les Bleus were unfortunate not to win by more given Rabiot hitting the post and the two offside ‘goals’. Karim Benzema’s link-up with Mbappé showed great promise so the world champions will be full of confidence going into their second match against Hungary.
Phil Röber, Germany reporter
Congratulations to France – they were tactically too clever and Germany just couldn’t find a way through. There are positives to build on, but Die Mannschaft are obviously under huge pressure now.
Didier Deschamps, France coach: “We played a great game against very good opponents. I knew my players would be ready and we were up for the fight. We weren’t far away from scoring the second goal that would have made us safe, but we didn’t suffer that much in the second half. It was a strong match with quality and talent.”
Joachim Löw, Germany coach: “It was a really intense match and we fought until the very end. I cannot blame my team for not trying – they gave everything they had.”
Paul Pogba, Star of the Match: “We all put the effort in. We’re all focused on our jobs on the pitch. We know we need to live up to our tag as world champions and come out on to the pitch with humility. When we need to suffer, we do it together and when we attack, we do it together.”
Hugo Lloris, France captain: “The main thing was taking the three points. We really played as a team. We suffered at times, especially in the second half when they held onto the ball and got it wide. We did the most important thing and we must savour that.”
- Les Bleus are unbeaten in their last 17 competitive fixtures (W16 D3).
- France are undefeated in their last six meetings with Germany.
- This was only the second time in 27 matches that Germany have failed to score.
- France have never lost their opening group game at a EURO final tournament (W6 D3).
- Hummels’ own goal is the first Germany have conceded at a EURO and only their second in major tournaments after Berti Vogts (vs Austria, 1978 World Cup).
- France have won their last five matches without conceding a goal (F10 A0).
- This was Germany’s first loss in the opening group fixture at a EURO finals (W5 D5).
- Germany did not concede a goal in the group stage at EURO 2016.
- Germany became the first side to reach 50 EURO finals matches.
France: Lloris; Pavard, Varane, Kimpembe, Hernández; Rabiot (Dembélé 90+4), Kanté, Pogba; Benzema (Tolisso 89), Griezmann, Mbappé
Germany: Neuer; Ginter (Can 88), Hummels, Rüdiger; Kimmich, Gündoğan, Kroos, Gosens (Volland 88); Havertz (Sané 74), Müller; Gnabry (Werner 74)