Paul Pogba was the star of the show as France eked out a narrow 1-0 win over Germany in their UEFA Euro 2020 Group F encounter on Tuesday night.
It was France that made the strong start to the game at the Allianz Arena and their early pressure paid off in the 20th minute when recalled Germany defender Mats Hummels turned a dangerous cross from Lucas Hernandez into the back of his own net to hand the world champions the lead.
Germany tried to force their way back into the game and did create a few chances but they were unable to get back on level terms before half-time. After the break, France could have doubled their tally but Adrien Rabiot’s effort hit the woodwork while Serge Gnabry failed to make the most of a great opportunity at the other end.
Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema both put the ball into the back of the net in the latter stages, but both goals were chalked off for offside while Germany couldn’t find a way through a determined French rearguard as Les Bleus held on for a narrow win to kickstart their UEFA Euro 2020 campaign. Here are our player ratings for both sets of stars.
Hugo Lloris: 7/10
Not a lot of questions asked in terms of making saves. But always commanding and alert in his box as he came out to collect crosses and was sharp with the ball at his feet.
Benjamin Pavard: 7/10
A solid display from the Bayern Munich defender, who was aggressive in his challenges, completing five tackles on the night – the most by a French player. Also offered a good outlet down the right flank.
Raphael Varane: 8/10
There was no way past Raphael Varane for Germany on the night as he constantly swept up everything that came his way, making a game-high eight clearances while winning each of his aerial duels and tackles. Distribution precise and pinpoint as well.
Raphaël Varane and Presnel Kimpembe were not dribbled past once against Germany.
Keeping the Germans at bay. #EURO2020 #FRA #GER pic.twitter.com/o97eUuNdmi
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) June 15, 2021
Presnel Kimpembe: 7.5/10
Played his part in keeping the Germans at bay, although there were a couple of iffy moments over the course of the contest. Along with Varane, shored up things and the pair weren’t dribbled past even once on the night.
Lucas Hernandez: 8/10
Forced the only goal of the game with a delightful cross into the box and provided a natural attacking outlet down the left. Defended robustly as well, to keep things locked on his side. Silencing the doubters.
N’Golo Kante: 8/10
Did what he does best as he buzzed around the pitch, cutting out moves and winning back possession before laying it off to his forward-thinking teammates. Even made a few driving runs forward himself. Full of energy.
Paul Pogba: 9/10
A different player when he puts on the France jersey and it showed again on Tuesday. Absolutely bossed the midfield, starting the move for the goal with a stunning pass out to the wide area for Hernandez. Controlled things beautifully, looked to engineer an opening whenever he got on the ball and wasn’t shy of putting the hard yards off the ball as well, as he won a game-high 13 duels and recovered possession 12 times – the most by any player on the night.
Pogba + trivela = ???
?? THIS sensational pre-assist wins Skill of the Day ?@HisenseSports | #EUROSkills | #EURO2020 pic.twitter.com/O0glC04R5D
— UEFA EURO 2020 (@EURO2020) June 15, 2021
Adrien Rabiot: 7/10
Might not have stood out like some of his other teammates but did a lot of important work off the ball, helping France keep Germany at bay. Should have done better when a great chance presented himself in the second half but hit the woodwork – he had the option of squaring it to a teammate as well but chose not to.
Antoine Griezmann: 7/10
Another player who put in the hard yards defensively, which was critical to France’s narrow win. Tracked back valiantly to help his team out, was involved in most of the attacking moves that his team conjured up, creating a team-high three chances.
Karim Benzema: 6/10
Back representing France at a major international competition, it wasn’t the most memorable of returns for Benzema as he didn’t look at his sharpest. There were times when his link-up play looked off while there were a few bright moments as well. Had a goal chalked off for offside late on.
Kylian Mbappe: 8/10
Was too hot to handle for the German defence with his pace and directness as he constantly caused problems to the backline. Had a fine goal ruled out by a marginal offside call and had strayed offside slightly in the buildup to Benzema’s chalked off goal.
I'm still thinking about this run from Mbappe… Absolutely insane pace. pic.twitter.com/NYwfOZHzox
— B/R Goal (@br_goal) June 15, 2021
Corentin Tolisso: N/A
Late substitute for Benzema.
Ousmane Dembele: N/A
Stoppage time substitute for Rabiot.
Manuel Neuer: 6/10
Given no chance with the goal. Otherwise, did not have a whole lot of saves to make. Swept up well as usual and distribution was on point too.
Matthias Ginter: 5.5/10
The Borussia Monchengladbach defender made a few important tackles and blocks but was, at times, overwhelmed by the dangerous Kylian Mbappe. Played some accurate long balls forward to push his team upfield.
Mats Hummels: 5/10
Struggled to contain Mbappe throughout and unfortunate to see his attempt to clear the ball end up his own net to hand France the win. Did make a strong challenge on the PSG forward in the second half to deny a goalscoring chance.
Antonio Rudiger: 6/10
Did well up against the threat of Karim Benzema for the most part. Bizarrely though, appeared to have bitten Paul Pogba just before the half-time break.
Rudiger tried to bite Pogba ? pic.twitter.com/gfqVLf2ECN
— FutbolBible (@FutbolBible) June 15, 2021
Joshua Kimmich: 6/10
Shunted out to the right wing-back slot, Kimmich wasn’t able to have the kind of impact he can have on the proceedings. An early booking also meant he had to keep his discipline which he did. Produced a couple of good-looking crosses but not effective enough, ultimately. Germany need to find a way to use him in midfield.
Ilkay Gundogan: 6/10
Not good enough against the French midfield unit, who got the better of him more often than not. Did help keep possession with his accurate passing but no incision was on offer.
Toni Kroos: 6.5/10
Tried hard to stop the French midfielders, making a game-high 11 tackles and was key to Germany keeping hold of the ball for most parts of the game. Even played a few nice forward passes in an attempt to create openings but to no avail.
Robin Gosens: 7/10
Possibly Germany’s best player on the night. Constantly pushed forward down the left channel and delivered a number of teasing crosses, at least a couple of which should have been converted by his teammates.
Kai Havertz: 5/10
The Champions League-winning hero for Chelsea couldn’t have a similar impact for his country on Tuesday. Worked hard off the ball but failed to offer a genuine goal threat and was taken off.
Thomas Muller: 4/10
The senior forward for Germany, Muller had a lot riding on him. However, the Bayern Munich superstar failed to rise to the occasion. Missed a good chance in the first half, was nowhere near his best and just failed to get going on the night.
Serge Gnabry: 4/10
Another player who endured a quiet outing. Had a great chance to level things up but couldn’t put it into the back of the net. A moment or two where he showed some spark but generally off colour.
Gnabry goes close ? Did you think it was in? #EURO2020 pic.twitter.com/JWRGyKTwMM
— UEFA EURO 2020 (@EURO2020) June 15, 2021
Timo Werner: N/A
On for Gnabry for the final 15 minutes so. Did little of note.
Leroy Sane: N/A
Replaced Havertz for the final quarter-hour. Tried to make things happen but could not.
Emre Can: N/A
Late substitute for Ginter.
Kevin Volland: N/A
On for Gosens in the 87th minute. Fired a shot high and wide.
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