Venue: Munich, Allianz Arena
With its translucent exterior that can be lit up in a variety of different colours – up to 16 million of them, if Uefa’s official website is to be believed – by 4,000 specially developed lights, the ground Bayern Munich call home is among Europe’s more visually arresting stadiums, even if it does at times resemble a giant rubber dinghy. Its designers, the Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, describe it as “a milestone in their company’s development” and take pride in the fact it took just 30 months to build from scratch.
France vs Germany: Line-ups
Germany Out to Prove Worthiness
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 could likely see Les Bleus to take the spoils by the narrowest of margins.