European Football Championship: France on a special mission

The French, who won the World Cup crown three years ago in Russia for the second time in their history, could now take part in the 16th European championships for the third time after 1984 and 2000 – when they won the 1998 World Cup two years afterwards – end up as a winner. This means that the “Equipe Tricolore” would draw level with Germany and Spain as the record winners of the European Championship.

“This is a huge blast. For Germany. And for us too, ”said Deschamps in the press conference on Monday afternoon. While Deschamps believes that no decision will be made on how to progress on Tuesday, his captain Hugo Lloris believes the game is more important. “This is a key game right away. If we want to write history, we have to be right there. “

Group F, first matchday

Tuesday, 9 p.m. (live on ORF1):

France – Germany

München, SR Del Cerro Grande (ESP)

Possible exhibitions:

France: Lloris – Pavard, Varane, Kimpembe, Hernandez – Pogba, Kante, Tolisso – Griezmann – Benzema, Mbappe

Germany: Neuer – Ginter, Hummels, Rüdiger – Kimmich, Kroos, Gündogan, Gosens – Havertz, Gnabry, Müller

Optimism in Germany

In the demanding group F, a contemplative European Championship start is not possible. “The biggest opponent is first of all the group. To survive that would be a statement, “said Germany’s Toni Kroos about the starting position. Coach Joachim Löw is going to the tournament 14 years, nine months and 30 days after his first game and at the end of his era as national coach “with a lot of anticipation and healthy optimism”, as he emphasized.

Germany is playing their 50th European Championship finals game against France since 1972. No other team has played that often in a continental tournament. Only twelve games were lost for the three-time European champions, the last so far when they were 0-2 in the 2016 semifinals against France. At the World Cup in Brazil, Germany had prevailed in the quarter-finals two years earlier (1-0).

Records secondary for Deschamps

As captain, Deschamps was allowed to lead France to the European Championship as the first reigning world champion 21 years ago. This year the French can not only repeat the coup of the title double as the first team ever, but also choose their team boss as the only coach to date who has become both world and European champions. The fact that he would write history twice with it does not mean much to him. “Even if I’m always a competitor, I don’t chase after it. Records have never been a driving force for me, ”the 52-year-old told the German magazine“ kicker ”.

Reuters/Jerry Lamps

21 years ago, Deschamps also lifted the European Championship trophy two years after the World Cup

Deschamps is already – alongside Franz Beckenbauer and Mario Zagallo – one of three players who became world champions as players and coaches. The final round in Russia was the big highlight after having played in the European Championship final against Portugal (2016). In Deschamp’s nine-year tenure, things only went uphill. And when it comes to Deschamps, the upward trend should not stop, even if his contract is initially only valid until the end of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. “I am currently not thinking about being a club coach again. I’m very happy, “said the 103-time ex-team kicker.

France’s third European Championship title after 1984 and 2000 would make him even happier. Along the way, Germany and defending champions Portugal, who messed up the French title party on their own ground five years ago in the final with a 1-0 win in extra time, are two big chunks right in the group stage. Start-up difficulties like in previous tournaments shouldn’t be allowed. The first match in Munich against Germany (Tuesday, 9 p.m. live on ORF1) is trend-setting.

Benzema makes a comeback

In order to achieve the goal, Deschamps left no stone unturned in advance. Even star striker Karim Benzema was pardoned for the EM. The Real star made his comeback in team dress in a 3-0 friendly against Wales after a five-and-a-half year absence and, apart from a missed penalty, performed well. At the dress rehearsal last Tuesday against Bulgaria – also a 3-0 victory – he was knocked out of the knee before the break.

In any case, there is a lot of pressure on Benzema. Not only because of his 30 goals in 46 competitive games for Real Madrid, but also because his nomination came as a surprise. The striker was initially suspended due to his involvement in the blackmail case against Mathieu Valbuena at the end of 2015 and then no longer considered. The cause is still not over, the 33-year-old has to appear again in court in October. In order to be successful, it was overlooked, and the old differences of opinion with Deschamps were also resolved. “What happened happened. Now what counts is what happens on the pitch, I want to show my best, ”said Benzema.

The French footballer Karim Benzema in action.

Reuters/Eric Gaillard

Benzema (r.) Is back this year after five years in the “penalty box”

Star ensemble still no guarantee of success

Hopes are high that the veteran can improve his goal account in team dress with 27 goals in 83 international matches. “Everyone, not just a player, has to be at their best level,” said captain Hugo Lloris, taking the pressure off Benzema. Deschamps also emphasized this. “I don’t want to separate the three strikers from the rest of the team. Our performance will depend on what each individual brings. Defenders and midfielders are just as much a part of that. “

In the storm, Benzema seem to be next to Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann behind. If you also have someone like Olivier Giroud, who scored twice on Tuesday, up your sleeve, you can’t be better positioned in terms of personnel. A similar showpiece behind it is the midfield around Paul Pogba and Champions League winner N’Golo Kante. “He would deserve the Ballon d’Or. He’s always a driving force, although he is small in size, but huge from a sporting point of view, ”said Deschamps, praising the Chelsea engine. Having many top-class players on the team is a great privilege, said Deschamps. However: “It is no guarantee of success.”


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