France's Antoine Griezmann scores from the penalty spot past Germany's Marc-Andre ter Stegen [Source: Reuters]
Euro 2024 hosts Germany beat France 2-1 in their international friendly on Tuesday to snap a three-game losing streak and regain some confidence following a bad run which led to the sacking of coach Hansi Flick on Sunday.
Goals from Thomas Mueller and Leroy Sane at the start and end gave Germany, managed by sports director Rudi Voeller for the game, their first win in their last six matches and capped a turbulent few days for the four-times world champions.
While France, 2022 World Cup runners-up, did not field their strongest team, with captain and top striker Kylian Mbappe on the bench, Germany’s overall performance was far improved from Saturday’s 4-1 home loss to Japan that led to Flick’s departure.
“For us it was clear we’d be running a lot today,” Mueller said. “It was a crazy situation in the past three days. But congratulations to Rudi and his staff on how they dealt with it.
“We did what we had to, we worked hard and we were rewarded for it. We should not read too much into this win but for us it was a small emotional release.”
The Germans, who had won four of their previous 17 matches before Tuesday, are desperate to create a buzz for next year’s tournament among home fans, and they set out to restore their tarnished image as a football powerhouse.
They pressed high and were rewarded when veteran Mueller rifled home from inside the box in the fourth minute for his 45th international goal after a fine 13-pass move.
The French gradually found their way into the game and grew more dangerous, with Randal Kolo Muani and Aurelien Tchouameni piling pressure on the home defence.
Tchouameni’s low drive in the 57th forced a good save from Marc Andre ter Stegen, who also denied Antoine Griezmann in the 82nd by tipping his shot over the bar.
Sane then completed a quick break to score in the 87th before bringing down Marcus Thuram two minutes later for a penalty, with Griezmann cutting the deficit for the visitors.
“It is important for the players, the federation to play like that, especially in the first half it was a top performance,” Voeller said.
“It was a relief for all of us. It just feels good especially after the recent defeats,” added Voeller, a 1990 World Cup winner who coached Germany from 2000-2004.