EURO 2020: France vs Germany – two giants meet in the group stage

15.06.2021

Germany versus France is one of the biggest and most heated football rivalries in Europe, involving two of the most successful national teams in the world. Now, the two nations are set to meet in the group stage – in a group which also contains reigning European champions Portugal.

After a year-long delay, EURO 2020 has finally entered its group stage. For the first time in UEFA’s history, the European Championship will be staged in 11 cities across the continent this year, which is not the only novelty – as a recent KPMG Football Benchmark article highlights.

Today, Group F enters the tournament – the toughest group involving three giants: World Cup holders France, reigning European champions Portugal, 2014 World Cup winners Germany, and underdogs Hungary, who will play two of their three group games in front of an enthusiastic 60k full-house audience in Budapest’s Puskás Aréna. Given that the new format of the EURO 2020 allows up to three teams per group to proceed to the knockout stages, there is a reasonable chance that a trio of the aforementioned can survive this stage. For a start, France and Germany clash in Munich.

Looking at the statistics of both nations, we can expect a match between two giants of European football. In fact, France and Germany top numerous performance rankings with regard to the UEFA European Championship. Both teams lead the pack of combined games won at past EURO tournaments, with Germany boasting 26 total wins and France totalling 20 victories. Spain follow with 19 wins. While Germany needed 12 European Championship participations to score 72 tournament goals (the most of all participating nations), France follow with 62 goals from only nine finished EUROs. Considering the points per game, Germany and France can again be found on top: Germany’s average points per game currently stand at 1.84, followed by France’s 1.77. However, Germany lag behind in FIFA’s global Men’s World Ranking, which lists all national teams based on their game results: while France is second on the list only behind Belgium, Germany have dropped some places in recent months and are now only 12th.

Both teams have a squad with an average team age of slightly below 28.  Also, all their nominated squad members are contracted by clubs from Europe’s big five football leagues. At EUR 1.14b, the aggregate squad market value of France is slightly higher than Germany’s combined players’ market values, which stood at EUR 1.05b as of April 2021. Interestingly, FC Bayern Munich not only sends the most participating players to the German squad (eight players), but also to France’s national team (four players).

The overall record of France vs Germany registers 31 encounters, with France winning 14 games versus Germany’s nine wins and eight draws. The last five encounters ended in three French victories and two draws. In the semi-finals of the EURO 2016, France won 2-0, resulting in their first competitive win against Germany in 58 years.

Germany boast three European Championships (1972, 1980, 1996), and have also been runners-up three times. Moreover, Die Mannschaft bears four World Cup titles (1954, 1974, 1990, 2014), finishing second also four times. Nevertheless, the past 15 years under head coach Joachim Löw brought mixed results. The team won the World Cup in 2014, but crashed out during the group stages of the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Last year, the team was crushed 6-0 by Spain in a Nations League game, and suffered a humiliating 2-1 home defeat to North Macedonia this March – their first home World Cup qualifying loss since 2001. This time, Löw, who will step down after the tournament (his 26th consecutive major one as Germany boss) led his refreshed team safely through qualification above the Netherlands.

France has also been one of the most successful nations at the Euros, having won two titles (in 1984 and 2000, and finishing 2nd in 2016) – only Germany and Spain have won more titles (three each). Moreover, Les Bleus are the reigning world champions, altogether boasting two World Cups (1998 and 2018) and finishing second in 2006. Their latest records are impressive: since qualifying for the Euros, they have collected 10 wins, two draws and one defeat, a sole defeat in a friendly against Finland in which coach Didier Deschamps played his second string. The team is considered by many as the top favourites of this year’s tournament.