Mon, 26 Jul 2021

By Oliver Trust

BERLIN, June 16 (Xinhua) -- Disappointment couldn't be more significant after Germany lost their UEFA Euro 2020 opener against reigning world champions France 1-0 in Munich on Tuesday night.

The first own goal in the team's history at a European Championship decided the duel against the world's assumedly best side.

Returnee Mats Hummels couldn't stop a cross going into his own net after 20 minutes, and head coach Joachim Low faces increasing pressure when meeting Euro 2016 winners Portugal this Saturday in his second group encounter.

"The pressure can't be bigger for us now. If you lose the opener in a group like that, you need to give the right answer with only three group games," said midfielder Toni Kroos.

"We still have two opportunities to turn things to better," Low added. "We will talk about the game against France, no doubt. But first, we must look ahead and think about our approach against Portugal."

The 61-year-old in his last tournament in charge on the German bench, and might consider several changes regarding tactics and his starting eleven.

The duel against France not only left a bitter taste for Hummels in his first game after a break of two years in the national team.

A lack of efficiency remains the most pressing issue for Low, aside from tactical options.

While Low and several of his players spoke of a close game, France managed to keep Germany at bay for most of the game.

Low's strategy to strengthen his flanks with Robin Gosens and Joshua Kimmich up in midfield only partially paid off.

Dangerous gaps opened at the back when Gosens and Kimmich tried to support the attacking game and couldn't return quick enough as part of a five-man back row.

Low had chosen a more reluctant approach to shackle France's fast forwards.

The midfield duo of Kroos and Ilkay Gundogan lacked efficient support for the front line. Both seemed stuck with defensive tasks most of the time.

The gap between midfield and the attacking line grew minute by minute and made things easy for France when defending.

Facing Portugal, Low needs inspiring ideas. The German coach is expected to return to a four-man defense to increase the number of midfielders. Bayern midfielder Leon Gortzka, who missed the France game with injury, is said to return.

Bayern's Kimmich might move back to defensive midfield, allowing other midfielders to initiate fruitful attacks further up the pitch.

Low has to increase the risk to not repeat the disastrous early group exit at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Against France, Low complained about a lack of assertiveness in the last third of the pitch but optimistically stated "it's not done yet."

The German coach praised his side's spirit. "I can't blame the team as they delivered a highly intense game and invested a great amount of effort."

More Germany News

Access More

Sign up for Germany News

a daily newsletter full of things to discuss over drinks.and the great thing is that it's on the house!