The 2020 European Championships will see its first marquee match when the match France vs Germany takes on at 3:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, June 15, at the Allianz Arena.
The home-bound Germans will enter the game as clear underdogs to a French team that is so loaded with talent that pundits have pondered if its second team could compete for the title.
France will roll out a dangerous front pairing of Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema with Antoine Griezmann lying behind in an attacking 4-1-2-1-2, while the Germans could play Thomas Muller as a false nine or Timo Werner as a solo striker with runners on the wings behind him in a back-three formation.
France vs Germany Betting Preview
France won the 2018 World Cup by defeating Croatia 4-2 in the final and dominated their way through the tournament, establishing themselves as the clear best team in the world. Germany, meanwhile, suffered a shock exit before the knockout stage after claiming three lowly points in a group that included Mexico, Sweden, and South Korea.
Germany’s internal turmoil and dwindling form have led to Joachim Low announcing that he will retire from his position as manager after the tournament.
The Germans are a long way off of where they were in 2014 when they defeated Lionel Messi’s Argentina 1-0 in the final match. Legends such as Mario Gomez and Philipp Lahm have retired and there was an attempted purge of older players from the national side, but poor performances caused veterans Muller and Mats Hummels to be recalled to help stabilize the squad.
Group F has been dubbed the “group of death” because of the firepower it contains with France, Portugal, Germany and Hungary filling out the field. France won the most recent world cup, Portugal won the most recent European Championship, Germany is one of the most storied footballing nations and won the second-most recent World Cup, and Hungary won its group at Euro 2016. Every one of these teams can beat the other on their day, making it the most captivating and entertaining group to watch.
From a tactical perspective, there is no outright authority in Tuesday’s matchup. France will look to build through the middle with a pivot of Paul Pogba and Corentin Tolisso advancing forward and leaving potential Ballon d’Or-winner N’Golo Kante to sweep up the loose bits in front of the defensive line.
Benjamin Pavard will play as a right-back despite being a center-back by trade, limiting his effectiveness overlapping on the wing. Lucas Hernandez will play as the other fullback, and unlike Pavard, he has incredible pace and can gallop down the wing to support the strikers from a wider position or to cross the ball into the box.
France’s attack is the scariest part of its roster; Benzema and Mbappe up top will be a nightmare for opposing defenses, and in case they prove ineffective for whatever reason, manager Didier Deschamps has France’s second all-time leading goal scorer in Olivier Giroud sitting on his bench, fresh off of a second-half brace against Bulgaria last Tuesday.
Germany’s tactics will center around lots of short interchanges of passes, leaving Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry to serve as forward runners in the channels on either side of the center-backs to provide verticality to the game. Midfielders Ilkay Gundogan, Toni Kroos and Joshua Kimmich give the Germans deep-lying playmakers that can keep their structure in the midfield or press forward, depending on what the match calls for.
A loss in this match does not necessarily doom either team into bouncing out of the tournament, but it would make advancing to the bracket much more difficult. Both teams would presumably accept a draw, though they will be playing for the win. France will play with an abundance of pace and attacking presence, while Germany’s industrious players will fight and use their technical skill on the ball to advance play.
It is unlikely that this will result in a blowout for either side, though if it were to happen, a German side that lost 6-0 to Spain a half-year ago would be the more likely victim.
France enters the match as the presumptive champions of the tournament, and the Germans are assumed to finish in the bottom half of Group F— this match will show exactly how right, or how wrong, these expectations are.
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Grant Mitchell is a sportswriter and multimedia contributor for the Sports 2.0 Network dealing with basketball, football, soccer, and other major sports: you can connect with him on Twitter @milemitchell to stay up to date with the latest sports news and to engage personally with him.