France and Germany usually face each other in the last stages of major football tournaments.
Not this time.
The teams will meet for the first time in the group stage of a European Championship or World Cup on Tuesday when their Euro 2020 campaign opens in Munich.
Their last game in a major tournament was in the semi-finals of Euro 2016. Antoine Griezmann scored twice for France in the 2-0 victory over then-World Cup champions Germany at Marseilles.
Germany never really recovered, and although the French lost to Portugal in the final five years ago, they won the World Cup two years later.
Remarkably, no player in the current Germany squad has ever scored in a European Championship game. Thomas Müller, who has appeared in 11 tournament games, missed a penalty in the quarter-final victory over Italy in 2016.
The German hopes are based this time on a good start in Munich to prepare the team for success in Joachim Löw’s last tournament as coach after 15 years in charge.
Germany will also face European champions Portugal on June 19, four days before their final Group F game against Hungary. The Germans will play all three group matches in Munich, where one of the tournament’s quarter-finals will take place on July 2.
France faces Hungary on June 19 in Budapest and remains in the city to face Portugal on June 23.
Löw – or “Jogi,” as he is affectionately known – decided to step down after the tournament to let someone else lead the reshuffle he started after the German World Cup campaign failed. in 2018. His former assistant, Hansi Flick, will oversee qualifying for next year. World Cup in Qatar.
Löw has recalled experienced Müller and Mats Hummels for this year’s competition and their return seems to have had the desired effect. Germany looked solid in a 1-1 draw with Denmark, then regained confidence with a 7-1 loss to Latvia, when seven different players scored.
However, the conceded goal could prove to be more valuable than the scored one.
“These are situations, moments, without paying attention, without warning,” Löw said. “Our opponents are going to punish exactly that. We need to keep our focus high for 90 minutes in every situation. There is certainly room for improvement there.
Griezmann’s formidable French striker Kylian Mbappé and Karim Benzema – the latter recalled by Deschamps after an absence of almost six years – will be much more likely to capitalize on German mistakes in defense.
Benzema, 33, has recovered from an injury sustained in France’s 3-0 win over Bulgaria on June 8. penalty saved and hit the post. Griezmann has also recovered from a minor injury.
France aim to become the first country to hold the European and World Cup titles twice at the same time. French coach Didier Deschamps won the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 as a player and could repeat the feat as a coach.
Apart from France, only West Germany and Spain have held both titles at the same time.
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