Our new signing Statman Dave brought you his outright predictions for Euro 2020 ahead of the tournament and now he’s back giving his insights on the biggest game of the competition so far.
With the 2014 and 2018 World Cup winners going head to head on Tuesday, we’ve enlisted him to give us the lowdown on both teams and what to expect from this tactical battle.
Don’t forget, Statman Dave will also be providing exclusive content to our email newsletter throughout the tournament. You can sign up for that and much more here.
France vs Germany Preview & Tip
I think there’s a good chance that this game doesn’t quite live up to its billing. Germany have been playing a back five in recent weeks and, despite hitting seven against Latvia, you assume that’s partly in order to tune up their defensive shape ahead of big games like this. France started the 2018 World Cup very slowly, needing an own goal and a penalty to see off a poor Australia side.
If they do persist with their 3-4-3, Germany will create chances for Robin Gosens down the left, especially given that Benjamin Pavard doesn’t often get much protection from his winger. Germany have a lot of players who make selfless runs of the ball to drag players out of position and so you can definitely see them forcing an opening, but they’ll need to be clinical and I’m not sure they have that reliable striker in their ranks right now, unless Timo Werner can finally rekindle his RB Leipzig form.
We saw in the Champions League just how effective Kylian Mbappe can be when tasked with being one of very few players ahead of the ball: PSG often played a low-block with Neymar and Mbappe given almost all attacking responsibilities, and in spells it looked terrifying. Deschamps could take a similar approach here and have his team sit deep and look to find that killer pass to their young forward.
At this stage in the tournament, teams are still finding out about not only their opponents but themselves too. I wouldn’t be shocked to see a pretty quiet tie here, a 0-0 or one side nicking it by one seems likely. Of course, there’s always a chance that someone strikes early and lights the game up, but a timid start from both of these nations seems more likely to me.
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