Germany vs France
Europe’s newest international competition kicks off this week when the World Champions take on their neighbours and biggest rivals.
It’s UEFA Nations League Germany vs France at the Allianz Arena on Thursday and what a way to raise the curtain on this new competition. Didier Deschamp’s France is on the crest of a wave, returning from Russia with the World Cup. But for Germany boss Joachim Low, this is the start of a rebuild, and the road back for his team, battered and bruised in Russia.
The FIFA World Rankings tell a tale of triumph and disaster for these two giants of the International game, with France now on top of the world while Germany plummeted to 15th. So this is Germany’s chance to remind us all they haven’t gone away.
International breaks have always been greeted by fans with ambivalence: good if your local team needs a break (Burnley), not so good if you have the momentum (Watford).
But with the new competitive edge added, these are bigger and better games now; we’ll be following the lot on us.
So how does the UEFA Nations League work?
International matches in Europe finally have real meaning as the inaugural tournament kicks off this week.
While there will be separate qualification groups for the European Championship and World Cups, this will be another opportunity to qualify for the big tournaments from this league as well as promotion and relegation.
The tournament features all 55 of Europe’s international teams, split into four leagues by ranking (A, B, C and D). Each league is then divided into four small groups, and France and Germany find themselves in Group A1 along with the Netherlands. The winners of each group in League A will play off for the trophy and third and fourth places in June.
The bottom club in each group will be relegated and replaced by the four winners in the League below.
So let’s get it on!
How quickly can Germany recover?
Crashing out of the World Cup at the group stages was a catastrophe for Low, his team and the nation. But they didn’t deserve any more, seemingly playing without enough energy and certainly bereft of a cutting edge.
Leaving Manchester City’s flying winger, Leroy Sane, out of the World Cup squad was mystifying, to say the least. He has since been recalled albeit a little late as his early season form for City hasn’t been the best. This could be just the lift he needs, but he’ll probably start on the bench.
Low’s team doesn’t look as imposing as it did, but it still has world-class players in Real Madrid’s Toni Kroos, BVB’s Marco Reus and Sane’s team-mate Ilkay Gundogan. These could be the key to Germany’s success on Thursday as they come up against a fantastic French midfield featuring N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba.
More of the same for France…
Deschamps has made just one change to his World Cup-winning squad, bringing in keeper Benoit Costil to replace Steve Mandanda. But with skipper Hugo Lloris sidelined with injury PSG’s Alphonse Areola is set to deputise.
France’s World Cup victory was characterised by the flair and beauty of Gallic football at its best, and there were times when it could have been even better. Antoine Griezmann and Pogba took a while to get into their stride, but the electrifying pace of Kylian M’Bappe had defences scurrying from the off.
Stuttgart’s Benjamin Pavard was one of the stars of Russia 2018; the 22-year-old hit the headlines with a stunning strike against Argentina and playing with confidence and great skill throughout.
Germany have been a force in world football since first winning the World Cup in 1954, but a sharp exit in Russia was both a shock and a humiliation after their fourth triumph in 2014.
Credit to Low, he has decided to stay on to oversee the rebuild as Germany set out on the road to redemption.
France won their second World Cup this year, and the worrying thing for Germany, along with the rest of the world, is how young Les Bleus are. They are just going to get better and better.
Deschamps’ boys already lead the head-to-heads in Germany vs France results, with four wins to two and two draws, and their recent form is much stronger. Les Bleus have won six and drawn one of the last seven, a run which took them to the top of the world, while Germany crashed out with one late win and two dreadful defeats, giving the former World champions just two wins in seven.
|Germany vs France||France Asian Handicap 0.00 @ 2.11|
|September 7, 02:45 (GMT+8)|
Germany have home advantage in Munich, and the Germany vs France odds give the hosts a slight edge at 2.43 to win in the Allianz Arena, while Les Bleus are at 2.82 and the draw is available at 3.15.
But France are dripping with talent and will be keen to keep Germany in their place. It could be a tight game, though, with Under 2.50 goals at 1.92 slightly shorter than Overs at 1.98, and the most likely scoreline is 1-1 at 5.40.
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