“The Germans have enough depth and variety under their belt which the French can only match. You cannot find a team in this showpiece event that can match the quality of France and Germany – the teams can set the tempo and attack like a bunch of wolves and when needed, they can change the tempo by being resilient. Yes, the other teams do such as well, but not with the kind of perfection that the Germans and French do”

 

If you say that the match between France and Germany at the Allianz Arena was the Final before the Final then you would not be wrong at all. The intensity of the match was such high that you could not ignore the fact that it was almost like a final. Of course, the history between the nations had been scratchy and that adds more fuel to the flame in building up a high-quality contest. The match was vividly attacking and none of the teams had the motive to sit back, rather search for goals. The French won, but Germany was very good.

The Germans have enough depth and variety under their belt which the French can only match. You cannot find a team in this showpiece event that can match the quality of France and Germany – the teams can set the tempo and attack like a bunch of wolves and when needed, they can change the tempo by being resilient. Yes, the other teams do such as well, but not with the kind of perfection that the Germans and French do.

It was not a classic one expected, but it was never short of the rush of adrenaline and attacking intent that always helps develop epic encounters – had the German finish was a bit more clinical, and the French cashed in better in the counter, who knows, Allianz Arena might have been a part of another classic encounter between France and Germany.

The first opportunity was a header from Mats Hummels, the first clash Paul Pogba on Toni Kroos, Joshua Kimmich was shown the first card, the first slide tackle by Matthias Ginter – all of them were loudly cheered and welcomed.

Football was gaining the ideal momentum.

At the buildup, Germany were able to advance because the French were not pressing enough – the German wing-backs pushed higher up while Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe were challenging the back three of the German to take the advantage.

This made Kross drop deeper and aid the backline which, however, won the numerical advantage over the French forwards.

Stepped up Pogba to track down Kroos and even if that left a space in the midfield, France had a man out there to cut short the threat.

Now, this changed the shape of France – they stayed narrow and which meant that Benjamin Pavard was the only lone defender wide on the right side. Pogba was pressing Kroos and Griezmann was on Antonio Rudiger Kai Hvertz moved infield with Gosens being wide trying to cut the channel of Pavard.

Pogba being man-to-man on Kross helped the French to play proactively. They tested the German defence and it paid off.

The German backline was opened up with Pavard racing up, Mbappe brought the first save of the match. Pogba could have scored the opening goal as well – heading over a Griezmann corner.

Griezmann was thinking quickly, liberated the spaces and linked up with the appropriate players.

France advanced with confidence led by Pogba – he orchestrated a trivela pass towards Lucas Hernandez, who burst into the cross, the ball smashed the shin of Hummels and past Manuel Neuer. It was an own goal and nightmare for Hummels as Germany scored their first-ever own goal in Euros.

That goal ignited the Germans whose response was immediate – Thomas Muller just past a post at the other end, a great opportunity went begging by Ilkay Gundogan and Havertz witnessed a shot blocked by Raphael Varane.

After the break, the Germans went all guns blazing.

They played with the 3-2-5 formation.

Serge Gnabry hit a bouncing volley just over the bar from a close range. Joshua Kimmich provided a beautiful cross for Gosens, wiped out Pavard and fell into the six-yard box, where he accidentally blocked the shot of Kroos.

Germany were faster and more aggressive than their counterpart – switching positions upfront with great fluidity and creating opportunities that had the French on the back foot.

And France adapted to this via the 4-1-4-1 formation – the plan was to play two men defending in the wider regions and allowing the full-backs to stay narrower. The back four was drawn wider so that Kimpembe was able to progress and track Havretz in the half-spaces – the connection between Muller and Havertz was hampered.

Later on in the game, the wide centre back of Germany pushed high up and Gundogan joined the attack making the formation a 2-2-6.

The deep midfielders of France joined the defence and made it tough for the Germans to penetrate.

Kroos dictated the terms by trying to connect with Kimmich but France had the quality and depth to weather the storm.

France prevailed in a high voltage encounter.

But Germany hinted at coming back stronger.

Facebook Comments