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Hosts Germany cancel out French

Germany 0-0 France

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French fancy footwork: Germany's Leon Goretzka tries to put pressure on France forward Kylian Mbappe

French fancy footwork: Germany's Leon Goretzka tries to put pressure on France forward Kylian Mbappe

French fancy footwork: Germany's Leon Goretzka tries to put pressure on France forward Kylian Mbappe

Germany and France played out a scoreless draw at the Allianz Arena in Munich last night as the winners of the last two World Cups respectfully cancelled each others out in their opening Nations League encounter.

It was not the start UEFA will have been hoping for its new Nations League tournament, or the redemption the home fans will have wanted, but it was not without its moments.

The hosts' ball movement started steady and got steadier. Their four strapping defenders, with Joshua Kimmich and Toni Kroos forming a midfield shield, made them harder to hit on the break but hardly panicked France's formidable rearguard.

And when Germany did get the ball into a decent position, Marco Reus simply disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle formed by N'Golo Kante, Raphael Varane and Samuel Umtiti.

Perhaps the most significant piece of action in the first half came when Chelsea's Antonio Rudiger clumsily stamped on Benjamin Pavard - the Stuttgart defender will have experienced rougher treatment here against Bayern Munich, though.

The second half started with drizzle and paper aeroplanes in the air, but in the 64th minute Reus reappeared to force Alphonse Areola, in for the injured Hugo Lloris and the only change to the World Cup final-winning line-up, to make a fine save from a fierce, first-time shot.

Ten minutes later, the Borussia Dortmund forward was at it again, leading a rare German break made even stranger by the fact it contained Mats Hummels, who Areola denied with another good stop.

As the game entered its final minutes, the crowd finally got the one change they all seemed to agree was needed: Leroy Sane. The Manchester City man made one darting run but he ran into Umtiti and the moment passed. It was that kind of night.

France were greeted as worthy world champions and wandered off looking relatively pleased with themselves. While Germany started slow but did just enough by the end to remind everyone they are still Germany.


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