A clash of gargantuan proportions takes place in the group of death on Tuesday night, as 2018 World Cup winners France prepare to meet the 2014 champions Germany at Euro 2020 in Munich.

Didier Deschamps’s side are already being tipped to avenge their 2016 final defeat and go all the way this year, while Joachim Low will be praying for one last dance at Die Mannschaft.

Match preview

Twenty-one years on from masterminding France’s triumph at Euro 2000 on the field, Deschamps will now endeavour to add a continental manager’s medal to his ever-impressive haul of success, and the memories of their glorious World Cup summer three years ago still live fresh in the minds of the early favourites.

France may have suffered an unforeseen defeat to Turkey during qualification for Euro 2020, but their place in the finals was never up for debate, and it is only fitting to see France take their spot in the group of death alongside Germany, Hungary and reigning European champions Portugal.

Fielding near full-strength outfits in friendlies with Wales and Bulgaria certainly sent a message to the rest of the continent that France are in no position to mess around this summer, and Deschamps witnessed his fear-inducing crop ease to 3-0 successes in both games ahead of Euro 2020.

Not since the inaugural tournament in 1960 have Les Bleus suffered defeat during their opening game – losing a thrilling encounter 5-4 to Yugoslavia 61 years ago – and with Deschamps’s rearguard boasting four clean sheets in their last four games, Germany’s potent attackers have their work cut out for them.

A page in football’s history books is also on the line for Deschamps, who could become the first person ever to enjoy World Cup and Euros triumphs as a player and manager, but his adversary Low has an entirely different motivation for a summer of success.

Germany manager Low was barely five months old when the first European Championships took place in France, and 61 years on, the much-admired manager gears up for one last shot at international glory before stepping down from his Mannschaft post.

Low will always have the 2014 World Cup win to look back fondly on, but he is yet to oversee a triumphant campaign on the continental stage, as a runners-up medal in 2008 preceded two semi-final finishes in the 2012 and 2016 editions for the Germans.

The 61-year-old’s imminent resignation comes at a time where Germany have fallen victim to some truly demoralising results – namely a 6-0 drubbing at the hands of Spain and 2-1 defeat to North Macedonia – but they managed to put seven past Latvia in their final warm-up game before the Euros.

The less said about Germany’s futile attempts at Russia 2018 the better, but a new tournament brings with it new opportunities for the ever-hopeful Mannschaft, who will step foot onto the field for a record-breaking 50th time at a European Championship on Tuesday night.

Germany also boast a 12-game unbeaten record during their opening games of the Euros, but it was France who ended their dreams of glory five years ago, as a brace from Griezmann saw Les Bleus dump their rivals out in the semi-finals, and Die Mannschaft are winless in their last five encounters with the reigning world champions.

France form (all competitions):

  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Germany form (all competitions):

  • L
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • W

Hearts were in the mouths of the France supporters when returning talisman Karim Benzema had to come off early against Bulgaria last Sunday, but the Real Madrid man is reported to be training normally after shaking off that knock and ought to lead the line.

Those inside the French camp have been quick to play down rumours of a rift between Olivier Giroud and Kylian Mbappe following the former’s apparent dig towards his teammate, but Giroud is unlikely to force his way into the first XI despite netting twice as a substitute against Bulgaria.

Antoine Griezmann and Raphael Varane have also shaken off knocks to be available for this crunch match, leaving Chelsea man Kurt Zouma as the only injury concern with a minor unspecified issue, but Varane and Presnel Kimpembe were always going to pair up in defence.

As for Germany, Low trialled a three-man defence in their friendlies with Latvia and Denmark, with Antonio Rudiger, Mats Hummels and Matthias Ginter expected to provide protection to Manuel Neuer.

Jonas Hofmann is out with a knee injury but was never expected to start, while Toni Kroos and Ilkay Gundogan should man the engine room as Leon Goretzka continues to work his way back from muscle problems.

Die Mannschaft boast a ludicrous wealth of attacking talent, but Low must select just three frontmen to start on the opening day, with Serge Gnabry, Thomas Muller and Kai Havertz thought to be the most likely combination.

France possible starting lineup:

Lloris; Pavard, Varane, Kimpembe, Hernandez; Kante, Pogba, Rabiot; Griezmann; Mbappe, Benzema

Germany possible starting lineup:

Neuer; Ginter, Hummels, Rudiger; Kimmich, Kroos, Gundogan, Gosens; Havertz, Muller; Gnabry.

We say: France 1-0 Germany

The attacking power at Germany’s disposal makes a France clean sheet seem somewhat incomprehensible, but Deschamps’s men have the defensive tools needed to shut up shop against any opposition in Europe.

This mouthwatering tie could very well be settled by a moment of magic from the likes of Mbappe or Benzema, and Germany are not exactly the force they once were, so we are backing Les Bleus to take the spoils by the narrowest of margins.

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