France vs Germany EURO 2020 Picks and Predictions
We’re only two days in, but France vs Germany could be the biggest match-up of the tournament. France and Germany come into this summer as favorites, but along with being grouped together, they’re also grouped with the reigning Euro champions Portugal. A really good team may not make it to the next round, so points are critical here.
HISTORY: After meeting at the 2014 World Cup (GER 1-0), and Euro 2016 (France 2-0), France and Germany will be meeting for the first time in three years. This will also be their first meeting in group stages.
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France: Tale of the Tape
Projected XI: Lloris; Pavard, Varane, Kimpembe, Hernandez; Kante; Pogba, Tolisso; Griezmann; Mbappe, Benzema
France will enter this tournament in peak form. Didier Deschamps team has won eight of their last nine matches, dominating Nations League play and their World Cup qualifying matches. Most of the World Cup-winning squad returns, and it leaves them in the driver’s seat of the European championship.
Hugo Lloris will line up in goal and captain Les Bleus for his 152nd cap. The longtime Tottenham keeper has been a staple for the French for over 12 years, and he’s proven capable on this big stage.
The Bayern Munich duo of Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernandez will surround Real’s Rafael Varane and PSG”s Presnel Kimpembe. Both Pavard and Hernandez burst onto the scene at the 2018 World Cup, while Varane scored the opening goal in the WC quarterfinal win over Uruguay.
The French are blessed with elite skill all over the pitch. N’Golo Kante is coming off of another great campaign with Chelsea, helping them lift the Champions League Trophy.
Paul Pogba remains a polarizing presence on the pitch, and with such an abundance of talent around him, there won’t nearly be as much pressure as there was on him at the World Cup. Bayern’s Corentin Tollisso will get the start, and with Juventus’ Adrien Rabiot set to have a role as well.
The front line is what sets France apart from every other team. Antoine Griezmann has played a huge role in each of the past three tournaments, and that run shouldn’t stop here.. Kylian Mpabbe turned another corner this season at PSG, and after being a fresh face at the 2018 World Cup, he’ll be much of focal point.
Karim Benzema’s inclusion in the French squad is going to go a long way this summer. Deschamps will be torn between a fresh, reliable face in Benzema, versus one of the all-time leading scorers in France’s history, Olivier Giroud. At the end of the day, it will be a luxury for France to have two of the best target men in Europe in their corner.
Germany: Tale of the Tape
Projected XI: Neuer; Ginter, Hummels, Rudiger; Kimmich, Gundogan, Kroos, Gosens; Havertz, Muller, Gnabry
Germany enters this one as the winner of four of their last seven matches. An alarming 6-0 loss to Spain, an uncharacteristic slip up to North Macedonia, and a draw with Denmark a few weeks ago leave a few question marks surrounding the 2014 World Cup champions.
2015 Ballon D’Or nominee Manuel Neuer will captain Germany in what could be his last European championship. The longtime Bayern keeper was named Goalkeeper of the Decade, and he remains in the world-class form at the age of 35. He’ll be covered by the three-man line of BVB’s Mats Hummels, Mönchengladbach’s Lukas Ginter, and Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger. Hummels is one of the three key cogs who remain from the 2016 World Cup-winning squad, and he’ll be making his 72nd cap.
Rudinger is coming off a huge performance in the Champions League Final for Chelsea. Bayern’s Joshua Kimmich and Atalanta’s Robin Gosens will surround Man City’s Ilkay Gundogan and Real’s Toni Kroos in the midfield. Gundogan has enjoyed a career resurgence at Man City after tearing his ACL in 2016, and he produced a career-high 17 goals for the Premier League winners this season.
Kroos is the second of three key pieces from the 2014 World Cup-winning team that will play at Euro 2020. He’s arguably the best two-way midfielder in the world, capable of playing a high attacking role or holding in the central midfield.
The attacking trio of Chelsea’s Kai Havertz, Bayern’s Serge Gnabry, and Thomas Müller are going to give teams trouble this summer. Havertz scored the winning goal in Chelsea’s Champions League Final win over Man City and he’ll be looking to add more glory.
Müller will be the key to Germany’s success in this tournament, as his creative prowess will be heavily leaned on. The center man starred at the 2014 World Cup and they will need his best seven years later.
France vs Germany | Players to Watch
Finally, Benzema is back with the national team. It appears his off-field rift with fellow French forward Olivier Giroud has calmed down. The Real striker adds a lot of fuel to the fire, and he will receive a lot of opportunities to score with the talent around him.
France vs Germany is a huge first game. Germany has the tall task of facing France to open the tournament, in a game that has group implications. Germany will need it’s absolute best from Neuer today, as this French attack may be the best in the entire field.
Prediction & Pick
The two most recent World Cup winners are going to give us a show today. Both will want to open this tournament on a high note and snag these three points, because advancing from Group F will not be easy. It’s not often the Germans enter as underdogs, but this French team is loaded.
Germany’s recent results provide a good reason to trust France to take the three points here. Take France to win, and both of these powers to score this afternoon.