Two time winners of the European Championships in 1984 and 2000, France come here as World Champions and Euro 2016 runners up. They won their qualifying group but were made to work hard by Turkey who beat them 2-0 and held them to a 1-1 draw at Stade De France. In their last couple of games before coming here they beat Wales and Bulgaria, both by 3-0 score lines. The tournament favourites have one of the most impressive squads at this years tournament, with big names like Hug Lloris (Spurs), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid), Paul Pogba (Man United), N’golo Kante (Chelsea), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Antoinne Griezmann (Barcelona), Kingsley Koman (Bayern Munich) and Kylian Mbappe (PSG). Mbappe has scored 42 goals in 47 games this season and at 22 years old is the brightest young star on the scene. Many people questioned with Messi and Ronaldo both on the back 9 of their careers, who would step up to be the best player in the world, and what he has achieved in his short career to date has left no doubt in the minds of many that its a matter of time before Kylian Mbappe is widely praised as the worlds best.
Winners of this competition in 1972, 1980 and 1996, Germany come here knowing that manager Joachim low will be stepping down after this tournament. They edged out Holland in their qualifying group and then found themselves drawn in a group alongside France and Portugal, which will be far from ideal for a side who surprisingly failed to make it out the group at the 2018 World Cup. Whilst come feel that this Germany squad is lacking the depth in class that other generations have had, there is no doubting they are a classy group of players who anyone would be foolish to write off. Bayern shot stopper Manual Neuer in goal is still one of the best goal keepers in the game, with defenders such as Mats Hummels (Dortmund) and Antonio Rudiger who had a fine season in helping Chelsea to win the Champions League, plus Bayern Munich player Joshua Kimmich who has proven himself to be one of the most versatile and classy players of his generation. Creative midfielders Ilkay Gundogan of Man City and Toni Kroos of Real Madrid, will do their best to create opportunities for the likes of Leroy Sane (Bayern Munich), Kai Havertz (Chelsea), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich) and Timo Werner (Chelsea). With the manager on his way out, this group of players will be desperate to give him a good send off by going deep into the kockout rounds and hopefully, winning the tournament, showing that the 2018 World Cup campaign was a blip, and not a sign of things to come for the German National side.
The referee for this game is Carlos Del Cerro (Spain), who this season has taken charge of 34 games, awarding 156 yellow cards and 9 red cards, for an average of 4.59 yellow cards per game and 0.26 red cards per game. In his career to date he has refereed 227 games, handing out 1087 yellow cards and 50 red cards, an average of 4.79 yellow cards per game and 0.22 red cards per game.
This is undoubtedly the stand out tie of the first round. Both sides will know that a win here puts them in a very strong position to make it out the group, but a loss here leaves them in a position where they would likely have to avoid defeat against France to guarantee a spot in the knock out stages, which is not a a gamble either of these teams will want. We see this being an attacking game with both sides only really having one way of playing. There is no doubt that on their day this German side can beat anyone, but we feel France have slightly more fire power and will likely come out on top in an end to end game. The most likely result we see is France winning by a 3-1 or 3-2 score line.