Hummels own goal gets France off to winning start at Euro 2020

Munich (Germany) (AFP) – A Mats Hummels own goal was enough to hand France a 1-0 victory over Germany on Tuesday as the world champions made a winning start to their Euro 2020 campaign by dominating in Munich.

Hummels turned the ball into his own net in the 20th minute, which ultimately decided the contest.

France deserved the win, with both Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema having second-half goals ruled offside while Adrien Rabiot also hit the post for Les Bleus.

The result leaves France second on goal difference in the early Group F table behind Portugal, after the holders’ 3-0 win over Hungary earlier in Budapest.

The home defeat piles the pressure on Germany ahead of their next game against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal on Saturday, also at the Allianz Arena.

German head coach Joachim Loew, who will stand down after the European Championship, is desperate to avoid a repeat of the 2018 World Cup when Die Mannschaft suffered the humiliation of finishing bottom of their group.

It was a heartbreaking night for Hummels, back to boost the German defence after a two-year exile from international football.

Seven years ago, it was Hummels’ headed goal which knocked France out of the 2014 World Cup in the quarter-finals as Germany went on to win the title in Brazil.

The opening 15 minutes on Tuesday were spent with the European heavyweights tentatively probing each other’s defence until the French started to exert pressure and landed a sucker punch.

France’s Bayern Munich defender Lucas Hernandez met Paul Pogba’s magnificent pass with a low cross from the left flank which Hummels, to his horror, turned into his own net.

There was plenty of first-half niggle.

Germany defender Antonio Ruediger appeared to attempt to bite the back of France midfielder Pogba, who he was tightly marking.

Joshua Kimmich was booked in only the seventh minute for a late tackle on his Bayern team-mate Hernandez.

France made a strong start to the second half as Rabiot hit the post after a strong run into the area by Mbappe.

Germany started to threaten the French goal, with Serge Gnabry firing over.

The hosts had a let-off when Mbappe hit the net after cutting inside and curling in a superb shot on 66 minutes, but the goal was ruled out.

With 16 minutes left, Loew put fresh legs into Germany’s attack with Leroy Sane and Timo Werner replacing Kai Havertz and Serge Gnabry, but the French defence held firm.

In the final 10 minutes, Mbappe was furious to be denied a penalty when a Hummels tackle from behind just pushed the ball out of harm’s way before the France forward crashed to the turf.

In his first competitive international since France’s defeat by Germany at the 2014 World Cup, Benzema looked to have sealed the win when he tapped in Mbappe’s pass in the dying stages, but VAR caught the Paris Saint-Germain offside again.

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