Germany relishing facing France in blockbuster opener
June 15 2021 12:43 AM
Germany’s Joshua Kimmich (front left) and Serge Gnabry train in Munich yesterday. (Reuters)


Joachim Loew said yesterday that his under-fire Germany team are keen to prove themselves in their opening Euro 2020 fixture against world champions France. Germany are under pressure to perform at Munich’s Allianz Arena in today’s eagerly-anticipated Group F clash against France, who are among the favourites for the title.
Loew stands down as coach after the Euro following 15 years in charge and badly needs a deep run in the tournament following a bleak three years for German fans. 
Germany have struggled since finishing bottom of their 2018 World Cup group, suffering a humiliating 6-0 thrashing by Spain in November and shock defeat to North Macedonia early this year.
Loew wants Die Mannschaft to hit the ground running against France before also hosting holders Portugal on Saturday, with Hungary to come on June 23. 
“It will be important that we are bursting with ambition and are able to take on France and win our tackles,” Loew said with Germany bidding to win a record fourth European title. “The spirit is very good and the team is hungry for success. That makes me confident and allows me to sleep peacefully.”
Germany captain Manuel Neuer said the team are running “hot” in training and defender Mats Hummels posted “God, I am up for this game” on his Instagram account. The German defence has leaked 20 goals in their last 13 games and Loew is set to name midfielder Joshua Kimmich as right-back to help nullify France’s star-studded attack.
Neuer expects a busy night in the Germany goal and wants to keep a clean sheet to deny Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema. 
“We are not acting as an underdog, we want to win this game at home in Munich,” insisted Neuer. “As a team, we have made it our mission to defend with passion. Every goal conceded annoys me, we want to protect our goal and keep a clean sheet if possible.”
The Germans will play their group matches in Munich and captain Manuel Neuer said their shock 2018 World Cup first-round exit meant they had to make amends in front of a 14,000 home crowd. 
“It is very important to start with a successful result,” the Bayern Munich goalkeeper Neuer said. 
“We know we owe the fans something after the last tournament. We hope to excite them with the way we will play and we need their support.”

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