UEFA Nations League 2018: Things you missed during Germany vs France
Last night, the World Cup Champions of 2014 (Germany) and the World Cup Champions of 2018 (France) collided together in the opener of the UEFA Nations League in Munich.
Let's be honest nobody expected a nil-nil match between the two star-studded teams, but their keepers did a fantastic job. Here is the approach to the game from Joachim Low.
Germany went for a new system. It was a rumour that Low wanted to change his system, but the story was confirmed when the lineup was out.
The critical point that you missed here is that Germany are playing with five defenders, including Kimmich. Apart from that, the backline consisted of all centre-backs, like Rudiger at the left-back position. This would confirm that Germany was focusing on their defence to be tighter than that in the World Cup.
The next surprising key point from Germany's point of view was the switch between Marco Reus and Timo Werner. Germany had pointed out that Benjamin Pavard and Theo Hernandez would attack so they tried exploiting the free flank using the pace and dribbling skills of Timo Werner.
Undoubtedly the best performance of Timo Werner for Germany was last night after he started pressuring France's backline.
Last night, it wasn't just Werner and Reus who linked up well, but there was another partnership in Timo Werner and Thomas Muller; they would swap the wings and make use of the free spaces whenever possible.
Here is the image showing Muller using the open space.
Antoine Griezmann on the other hand for France had a bad day at the office. He had a lot of chances but he couldn't convert. He was caught napping when he was supposed to finish the chances he had.
The Frenchman should have finished this one. Apart from this chance, he had missed a header, which was also an opportunity where he could've scored but instead he nodded it straight at Neuer.
Areola was superb last night. He was my Man of the Match, personally.
Areola made six saves last night, including three which were almost sure-shot goals. With the French defence pressing lower yesterday, almost the whole team had come back to defend; this forced Germany to use the flanks well or take long-range shots, out of which Areola was successful being a wall. Germany had 13 shots, none went in the goal. Reason: Areola.
Germany looked far more aggressive, and Rudiger was in a foul mood, he probably had the most fouls last game including a dangerous foul on Pavard but still managed to get away with it.
Germany committed 14 fouls out of which none of them was fair enough to win the ball. Low had made his players more aggressive which we don't often see from his side. However, despite committing 14 fouls, they only received one yellow card. The receiver was Rudiger.
With both teams not being able to break the deadlock, the match was concluded draw.