Thursday, July 29, 2021

against Germany, France crosses its first summit

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If they want to go to the end, the Blues still have six games to play. In the meantime, the France team can already be satisfied with the first: a 1-0 victory to start this Euro 2021, against the German team, at home, in Munich, Tuesday evening June 15. The reigning world champions beat their predecessors. Deserved victory, and already promising, thanks to a goal by Mats Hummels against his camp in the first period.

»Relive the live: France beats Germany for its entry into the competition

Even if more will be needed, this first victory means something. First on paper: it puts the Blues in the best position to consider, even before facing Hungary, Saturday, June 19, and especially Portugal (wide winner of the Hungarians, 3 to 0), four days later, qualification for the round of 16.

But also and above all, in the field! Because these Blues have impressed, on the usual lawn of Bayern Munich. As much their start of the 2018 World Cup had left circumspect, their debut in this Euro 2021 is reassuring. Happy Didier Deschamps: the coach lived most of the meeting without resorting to the slightest change. The eleven French footballers have gradually gained the upper hand over a German team far from inspiring pity … but also far from its best hours.

You had to see Paul Pogba, this evening, present on all the balloons. Tireless, irreplaceable, like N’Golo Kanté. At their side in the midfield, Adrien Rabiot, too: a ghost. Unlike Pogba and Kanté, Rabiot did not compete in the 2018 World Cup. Here he is more ingrained than ever.

An aggressive match

The Blues, above all, experienced in official competition for the first time their new offensive triplet. Without dazzling, the Benzema-Mbappé-Griezmann trio is already operational. He now has all the Euro to perfect his understanding.

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Provisional result: two goals finally refused by the referee, due to offside. One of Mbappé (66e minute), very active tonight, and well launched on the left by Pogba: a coiled shot ricocheting against the post. The other by Karim Benzema (85e) – another private return from Mondial 2018. This time after a pass from the same Mbappé, again after an initial service from Pogba. Another occasion: this escape from Mbappé, tackled by Hummels (78e). Penalty? No, said the referee, despite the tackle from behind.

The only French goal will therefore have been the work of a German. That of defender Mats Hummels, scored against his camp in the first period (1-0, 20e minute). An unfortunate ball, deflected after a cross from Lucas Hernandez, left side. At the origin of the action, always Paul Pogba, a delicate opening on the outside of the foot.

Despite a cautious first quarter of an hour, the match gradually gained in rhythm. Even in aggressiveness. On the German side, defender Antonio Rüdiger had promised to play “Dirty” (sic), he kept his word. To the point of giving the impression of wanting to bite Pogba, just before half-time. As for Robin Gosens, the latter clashed with good heart Benjamin Pavard in the second half and forced him to leave the field, for a while, to take the shock.

Rough entry into the matter for the Blues, world champions and vice-champions of Europe in title. After a match against Hungary, on June 19, the next major shock awaits them against the reigning European champion: a meeting scheduled against Portugal, on June 23, at the end of Group F.

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