Uefa Nations League: Griezmann hits double as Germany’s poor run continues
World Cup winners France fight back to secure victory in Paris
France 2 Germany 1
Germany’s winless streak was extended to four competitive matches as France came from behind to win 2-1 in their Uefa Nations League A group one clash in Paris last night.
It’s Germany’s sixth defeat of the year and the first time they have lost so many matches in a single calendar year. The defeat surpasses the previous record of five, set in 1956 and 1985.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, Germany are now bottom of their Nations League group. Defeat to Holland next month would see them relegated from league A of the competition.
For the first 45 minutes at the Stade de France there were glimpses of the Germany of old as they took the game to their hosts, with Leroy Sane stretching the defence of the world champions.
Their lead was deserved, even if the penalty from which the goal came, wasn’t. Sane’s cross hit the arm of Presnel Kimpembe and the referee adjudged it worthy of a spot-kick.
Toni Kroos converted and the Germans could have had a couple more before the break but for the athleticism of French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
It was a different France after the break. Antoine Griezmann levelled on 62 minutes, heading home Lucas Hernandez’s cross. Ten minutes from time, it was France’s turn to be awarded a penalty after Blaise Matuidi had been fouled and Griezmann made no mistake from the spot.
France are now unbeaten in 15 matches. Their performance is in stark contrast to their deflated opponents who – as in Saturday’s 3-0 defeat to Holland – lacked a killer instinct in front of goal.
“I’m disappointed with the result, although I must say the defeat is different to Saturday’s,” said Germany coach Joachim Low.
“The negative point is the converting of our chances. We were unable to put the ball in the goal. I think we deserved to win because we were the best team but that’s not how things work.”
France in control
Low expressed his disappointment with referee Milorad Mazic’s decision to award France a penalty after Mats Hummels tangled with Matuidi.
“The penalty was totally unjust,” said Low, who was less forthcoming on Germany’s controversial penalty. “I’ve watched it back on the replay. Mats didn’t touch Matuidi. He stepped on Mats’s foot and then slipped.”
France only need one point from their final game next month against the Dutch in Rotterdam to top the group and qualify for the semi-final.
“It’s a good thing in terms of our aim of finishing top of the group but we were up against a very good German side,” said France coach Didier Deschamps.
“We played poorly in the first half. I think we were disrupted by them playing three at the back, so we had to calmly speak... in the dressing room and change two or three things tactically.
“It was better afterwards… we became world champions by working for each other and that’s the only way you will win matches.”