Germany face France at the Allianz Arena on Thursday, Sept. 6. Here’s all the info you need to watch.
The inaugural UEFA’s Nation’s League kicks off on Thursday with the last two World Cup winners meeting. After their worst World Cup showing in history, Germany host France in Munich at the Allianz Arena. France cruised through the World Cup, defeating Croatia 4-2 to win their second World Cup.
Die Mannschaft have been dealing with internal turmoil since the Mesut Ozil and Ilkay Gundogan met with the Turkish President in the days leading up to the World Cup. The negative backlash and perceived racism was one of the reasons that Ozil retired from the national team, despite being only 29-years-old.
After failing to get out of the group stage for the first time, manager Joachim Low kept his job. Given his successful history with the national team, that was the right decision. However, Low will have to reinvent himself and his team if they are going to beat France. The biggest question for Low ahead of the game against France, is the defense. In Russia, Germany saw teams pick them apart on the counter-attack, with Jerome Boateng showing significant signs of decline. Germany might consider switching to a back three and moving Joshua Kimmich to midfield. At the World Cup, opposing teams were able to run too freely through the midfield towards the goal. By playing with an extra center-back at the back and moving Kimmich forward, it would give more help to Boateng and Mats Hummels and allow less room to run in midfield.
Low called up many of the players who were named to Germany’s provisional squad for the World Cup. Thursday’s game against France will be a chance for Manchester City’s Leroy Sane to prove to Low what a mistake it was, leaving him at home for the World Cup. Three players, Thilo Kehrer, Nico Schulz and Kai Havertz, will have their first chance to earn their international debut.
Didier Deschamps’ French side are still riding high following July’s World Cup triumph. France could start potentially 10 of the 11 players who started against Croatia in the final. The only player who was not called up by Deschamps was keeper Hugo Lloris, who is dealing with an injury. With backup keeper, Steve Mandanda also injured, France do not have an experienced keeper on their roster. Benoit Costil, Alphonse Areola, and Benjamin Lecomte have one combined cap.
Deschamps will likely start the same back four he did at the World Cup. Lucas Hernandez, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti, and Benjamin Pavard were incredible in Russia with the French team conceding only six goals in seven games. While France are very strong in their own side of the field, their defenders rarely get any of the headlines.
Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe are two of the most entertaining players to watch in the world. Griezmann scored four goals and two assists in Russia winning the Bronze Ball and finishing second to Harry Kane for the Golden Boot. Mbappe also scored four goals and was named the best young player of the tournament.
The UEFA Nation’s League game between Germany and France will be broadcast live on ESPN2. Live streaming is available on ESPN+, which you can access with your cable or satellite subscriptions, either online or through the ESPN+ app.
In the second game of the group stage, France host the Netherlands on Sept. 9. Germany do not play again until Oct. 13, when they play the Dutch in Amsterdam.