The first of Euro 2020’s really big matches gets underway on Tuesday evening, as two of the game’s biggest sides go head-to-head in Munich.
It’s a face-off between the two most recent world champions in Group F, with 2018 winners France taking on 2014 victors Germany, and it promises to be a cracker.
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The current champions are only three years on from the scintillating run that saw them dismantle Croatia 4-2 in the World Cup, and much of that same squad is still around.
In fact, they’ve gotten stronger, finally welcoming Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema back to the squad. Benz scored 23 times in 33 La Liga starts for Los Blancos last season, chipping in with nine assists too.
Potentially joining Kylian Mbappé (15 goals, 11 assists) and Antoine Griezmann (13 goals, 7 assists) in a front three makes Les Bleus a terrifying prospect to face.
They’re unbeaten in competitive internationals since June 2019 (W13 D3) and haven’t lost inside 90 minutes at a major tournament since Brazil 2014.
The same can’t be said for their opponents though, who crashed out of the 2018 World Cup at the Group Stage in embarrassing fashion.
Die Mannschaft have a lot to do to make up for that poor showing, but they have a group full of exciting young players with lots of potential.
Their 7-1 demolition of Latvia in their final warm-up game was a clinic, but they showed they still have vulnerability when losing a World Cup qualifier to North Macedonia earlier this year.
The Man in the Middle
Taking charge of this one is Carlos del Cerro Grande. The Spaniard officiated 21 La Liga games last season, dishing out 108 yellows (5.14 per game), six reds and 11 penalties.
It was the Europa League where he really came into his own though, showing 16 yellows and giving three penalties in just three games.
The Bet Builder
This is a glamour tie but there’s no guarantee it’s going to be a glamour game. Looking at how tight this group could be, neither side is going to want to take unnecessary risks.
Germany are only seven months removed from a 6-0 drubbing at the hands of Spain, and are winless in 11 against sides currently ranked above them in the FIFA rankings – as well as their last five games with France.
With that in mind, I’m taking France or Draw Double Chance, Under 5 Cards and Over 0 Second Half Cards at 6/5 with bet365.
None of the 10 games played at the tournament so far have seen more than four cards, including the one that saw a red card, but all eight games in which there was a card saw at least one in the second half.