France and Germany launch their Euro 2020 campaign on Tuesday, going head to head in the tournament’s group of death that also features Hungary and reigning champions Portugal.
It will be the first time the two nations face off in the group stages of a major tournament.
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Their last match at a major tournament came in the Euro 2016 semi-finals where Antoine Griezmann scored both goals in France’s win.
Remarkably, no player in Germany’s current squad has ever scored in a European Championship match.
German hopes this time are pinned on a good start in Munich to set the team up for success in Joachim Low’s last tournament as coach after 15 years in charge.
France, for its part, must contend with an escalating row between strikers Olivier Giroud and Kylian Mbappe that is threatening the team’s unity.
At a press conference, Giroud hinted that Mbappe ignored his calls during a friendly against Bulgaria.
Les Bleus, however, can seek solace in the fact that forward Karim Benzema – recalled by Didier Deschamps after a five-year absence – will be fit to play.
Group of death
Germany will face Portugal on June 19, four days before its last game in Group F against Hungary.
The Germans will play all three group games in Munich, where one of the tournament’s quarterfinal matches will take place on July 2.
France plays Hungary on June 19 in Budapest and stays in the city to face Portugal on June 23.
Low, or “Jogi” as he’s affectionately known, decided to step down after the tournament to let someone else lead the shake-up he started after Germany’s failed World Cup campaign in 2018.
His former assistant, Hansi Flick, will oversee qualifying for next year’s World Cup that will take place in Qatar.
Low recalled the experienced Muller and Mats Hummels for this year’s competition and their return appears to have had the desired effect.
Germany looked solid in a 1-1 draw against Denmark and then filled up on confidence with a 7-1 rout of Latvia when seven different players scored.
France is bidding to become the first country to twice hold both the European and World Cup titles at the same time.
Didier Deschamps won the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 as a player and could repeat the feat as coach.
Apart from France, only West Germany and Spain have held both titles at the same time.