The Hard Tackle takes a look at five key stats from the game as France handed Germany a 1-0 defeat in their UEFA Euro 2020 Group F opener on Monday.
The first round of fixtures of the UEFA Euro 2020 group stages culminated on Tuesday night with a blockbuster of a clash as France faced off against Germany in Group F, the Group of Death.
Given the recent decline that the Germans have shown, and the form that France have been in, the World Champions were the favourites to come out on top. And, that is exactly how the events panned out at the Allianz Arena. Even though Joachim Low’s side dominated possession and created a greater number of chances, France never really looked bothered.
And, an own goal from Mats Hummels in the 20th minute, when he turned in Lucas Hernandez’s cross into his own net, was enough for Didier Deschamps & co. to pick up the all-important win. Despite the victory, they remain behind Portugal in the standings, following A Selecao’s 3-0 win over Hungary earlier in the day.
With the game out of the way, let us take a look at some of the key facts and figures from the encounter, as France announced their arrival in the competition.
Team effort from France
As iterated earlier, it was Germany that dominated possession. However, they weren’t able to test Hugo Lloris in goal as the French team defended as a tight unit from the front. Indeed, only two of the ten outfield starters – Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann – failed to make a single tackle for France, with everyone else chipping in with at least one.
Pogba stands in the way
Manchester United superstar Paul Pogba is often a different player altogether when he puts on the France jersey and it was on show yet again on Tuesday. The Frenchman dominated the midfield battle, winning as many as 13 duels, the most by any player. He also won the most number of aerial duels (4), made the highest ball recoveries (12), while also offering the forward drive with the ball, making three take-ons (3), again the highest.
Paul Pogba's game by numbers against Germany:
◉ Most touches (78)
◉ Most duels won (13)
◉ Most recoveries (12)
◉ Most aerials won (4)
◉ Most take-ons completed (3)
A dominant display in the middle.#EURO2020
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) June 15, 2021
No way past Varane and Kimpembe
Even if Germany did manage to get past the midfield of Pogba, N’Golo Kante and Adrien Rabiot, they found themselves going up against a wall in the centre-back pairing of Raphael Varane and Presnel Kimpembe. Indeed, the duo was not dribbled past a single time on the night. The former also affected a game-high eight clearances.
Own goal galore!
Five days into the UEFA Euro 2020 and there have already been three own goals scored. Following Merih Demiral (Turkey vs Italy) and Wojciech Szczesny (Poland vs Slovakia), Mats Hummels also entered the unwanted list of players having scored an own goal in the Euros so far. It is the joint-most at any European Championships (level with 2016).
It was also the first-ever own goal that Germany have scored in the history of the European Championships!
3 – In what is only the 12th game at EURO 2020, the tournament has seen three own goals scored (Merih Demiral, Wojciech Szczesny and Mats Hummels), already the joint-most at any European Championships tournament (also three at EURO 2016). Clumsy. #EURO2020
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 15, 2021
Benzema’s wait continues…
Having made his return to the France fold after six long years, Benzema would have been hoping to mark his comeback with a goal. However, that was not to be on Tuesday night. With five minutes left, the Real Madrid star thought he had doubled his side’s tally and ended his wait. But as fate would have it, the goal was chalked off for offside. And, as a result, the 33-year-old is now on a run of 2538 days (!) without scoring a goal at a major international tournament.