Germany battle but France show quality to win Euro opener

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dpatop - Football: European Championship, France - Germany, preliminary round, Group F, 1st matchdayFootball: European Championship, France - Germany, preliminary round, Group F, 1st matchday at the EM Arena in Munich. Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer (Germany) cannot prevent the own goal by Mats Hummels (Germany, M). Kylian Mbappe (France) celebrates on the left. Important: For editorial news reporting purposes only. Not used for commercial or marketing purposes without prior written approval of UEFA. Images must appear as still images and must not emulate match action video footage. Photographs published in online publications (whether via the Internet or otherwise) shall have an interval of at least 20 seconds between the posting. Photo: Federico Gambarini/dpa
dpatop - Football: European Championship, France - Germany, preliminary round, Group F, 1st matchdayFootball: European Championship, France - Germany, preliminary round, Group F, 1st matchday at the EM Arena in Munich. Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer (Germany) cannot prevent the own goal by Mats Hummels (Germany, M). Kylian Mbappe (France) celebrates on the left. Important: For editorial news reporting purposes only. Not used for commercial or marketing purposes without prior written approval of UEFA. Images must appear as still images and must not emulate match action video footage. Photographs published in online publications (whether via the Internet or otherwise) shall have an interval of at least 20 seconds between the posting. Photo: Federico Gambarini/dpa

World champions France proved too strong for Germany – but only just – in Munich on Tuesday with an own goal from Mats Hummels giving Didier Deschamps’ side a 1-0 win to start Euro 2020.

The unfortunate Hummels, playing his first competitive game for Germany since 2018, lashed into his own net in the 20th minute after Lucas Hernandez drove the ball across goal.

Adrien Rabiot struck the post in the second half for France, who also had two goals disallowed, but Germany were not without chances of their own and Serge Gnabry really should have levelled.

Defeat for Germany puts coach Joachim Loew under pressure going into their next Group F match against holders Portugal, who beat Hungary 3-0, on Saturday. France meanwhile head to Budapest to face the Hungarians.

Germany lined up as expected with Hummels in a back three and Bayern Munich’s Joshua Kimmich at right back to accommodate Toni Kroos and Ilkay Guendogan in the middle of the park.

But an energetic opening, roared on by about 14,000 fans, could not create chances for the front three of Gnabry, Kai Havertz and Thomas Mueller, recalled like Hummels, and it was France who threatened first when Paul Pogba headed over.

Pogba inspired the breakthrough soon after with a delightful switch to Hernandez, whose cross left Hummels in an impossible position with Kylian Mbappe lurking behind him.

Mbappe was a constant threat, testing Manuel Neuer in the first half and having a wonderful goal – when he outfoxed three defenders to shoot in off the far post – disallowed for a marginal offside in the second.

Guendogan mis-hit when well placed to level before the break and Gnabry saw his effort land on top of the net after he struck his shot into the ground later on.

But France were also dangerous and Rabiot struck the post with Neuer beaten off Mbappe’s pass.

A substitution flurry from Loew, who will leave his position at the end of the tournament, brought fresh legs and pace in shape of Timo Werner and Leroy Sane with 15 minutes remaining but to no avail.

Instead it was France who found the net again through Karim Benzema but again Mbappe was slightly offside in the build-up to give Germany a lifeline they couldn’t take.

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