Mats Hummels’ own goal proved to be the difference-maker for world champions France as they narrowly edged out fellow European heavyweights Germany with a 1-0 win at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday. France’s victory brought the first round of group stage games at UEFA Euro 2020 to a close.
The battle of the two most recent winners of the World Cup began with lots of energy but not enough quality on display from both sides. While Germany had more possession and created more chances, it was France who went into the half-time interval in the lead. Hummels diverted Lucas Hernandez’s cross into his own net in ungainly fashion in the 20th minute.
The Germans upped their intensity in the second half as they went in search of an equalizer. However, Germany were met by a resolute French backline that barely offered them a sniff at goal.
Had France been a little bit more clinical with their finishing and the timing of their runs, their win might even have ended up being much more comfortable.
As such, it’s France who get off to a winning start in the competition, leaving Germany with plenty of food for thought. Germany will look to raise their game for the remainder of their group stage matches as they navigate the so-called group of death.
On that note, here are the hits and flops from the game.
#1 Hit: Lucas Hernandez
Part of a sizeable Bayern Munich contingent on the field, Hernandez has as yet been unable to establish himself as a regular starter for the Bundesliga champions. However, he is a firm fixture for Les Blues.
The French left-back showcased his value for the national side with an excellent performance in this game. Barely putting a foot wrong all evening, Hernandez didn’t just shut down the left flank but also made the crucial contribution that led to his side’s first-half opener.
While Hernandez put the shackles on Germany’s Joshua Kimmich extremely effectively throughout the game, he also chose his moments to bomb forward well. It was on one such occasion that he was picked out in space down the left, and Hernandez’s dangerous ball back across goal found its way into the German net via Hummels.
Even with Germany stepping up their efforts to find an equalizer in the second half, Hernandez proved to be a formidable obstacle for the German attackers, who did not have much joy down his flank throughout the game.