Germany with questions to answer ahead of France clash

Afp, Munich

15 June, 2021 12:00 AM printer

World champions France open their Euro 2020 campaign on Tuesday against an embattled Germany team eager to rediscover their best form in the first clash of two traditional European heavyweights in this year's tournament.

Didier Deschamps' France head to Munich for the Group F game with a feud brewing between forwards Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud but are still the title favourites, while the Germans are struggling and under pressure.

After 15 years in charge, their coach Joachim Loew will step down after the European Championship and wants to forge a mentality "like 2014" when his squad "pulled together" to win the World Cup. The French need no reminding of Brazil, where they bowed out in the quarter-finals when a Mats Hummels header sealed victory for Germany at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

The French got their revenge when Antoine Griezmann scored both goals in a 2-0 semi-final win at Euro 2016 before the hosts lost to Portugal in the final.

France won the last meeting between the neighbouring countries in 2018 when Griezmann again scored both goals to seal a 2-1 Nations League win in Paris.

Germany face a tough start to Euro 2020, with a match against holders Portugal four days after the France game before finishing their group campaign against Hungary.

Tension is already bubbling in the French squad after Giroud, who scored twice off the bench in a 3-0 friendly warm-up win over Bulgaria, complained about the passes he received, which Mbappe took to heart.

It promises to be a heated match after Chelsea defender Antonio Ruediger admitted Germany may need to be a "little dirty" to counter the French attack.

Meanwhile, reigning champions Portugal will start their title defense mission against Hungary in the other Group F match at Puskas Arena in Hungary.