France to overwhelm a Germany side in transition
The so-called 'Group of Death' matches in the delayed UEFA Euro 2020 Championships get underway on Tuesday, with the main focus in pool F being the evening fixture in Munich between World Cup winners France and Germany. The 'hosts' will be desperately hoping to put both their abysmal performance at the last major tournament behind them, whilst also proving that they can defy the growing number of critics at home and abroad by going shoulder to shoulder with the outright favourites. Read our preview here:
Benz like a Mercedes
There are some doubts as to whether complete striker Karim Benzema, after a long period in the international wilderness, is fully fit for the crucial opening game after suffering a knock in the friendly with Bulgaria last week. Head coach Didier Deschamps is likely to take a risk with the Real Madrid talisman, and his movement and ability to hold the ball up against a three man defence will be vital in bringing the positive-minded runners from midfield into dangerous territory. Antoine Griezmann is all set to link play between the deadly front two of Benzema and Kylian Mbappé and the deeper lying individuals in the engine room. The full-backs will push up very high during forays forward, and should enjoy plenty of space down the sides of the German defence.
There have been accusations that Joachim Löw doesn't know what his best formation is, let alone his favoured XI. With Leon Goretzka, a likely starter, out injured, he is almost certain to favour a centre back trio, with the Philip Lahm-esque journey Joshua Kimmich has been on for club and country neutered somewhat by his positioning at right wing-back, presumably to thwart Lucas Hernández and Paul Pogba's attempts to bypass Germany's flank. Elsewhere, Thomas Müller and Champions League final goalscorer Kai Havertz will be at pains to ensure Serge Gnabry isn't crowded out by a very imposing looking French defence, and they will also be mindful that N'Golo Kanté has a more conservative set of instructions under Deschamps than he does for Chelsea.
Bowing out on a Löw?
For either side to maximise their chances of qualification, let alone topping the group, they need to win this encounter. Many assumptions will doubtlessly be made about Hungary being the weakest team in the pool, and whilst that is certainly the case on paper, they could stifle the rest or even spring a surprise. In other words, they can't be taken for granted, and France's only obvious weakness is in breaking down sides that set up with 10 men behind the ball in their own third. Germany won't do that, and Deschamps' better individuals and team ethic will hurt Die Mannschaft time and again. Amazingly, Les Bleus are at far greater than evens with Betway to win the match, and can currently be backed at 2.70.
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