EM 2021 – A winged exclamation point, a tricolor slip and a red question mark: Germany mounts against Portugal, France draws and Spain does not go off.
Three favorite titles paint a different picture in Heavyweight Sabbath. The second appearance by Germany, France and Spain in emerging markets provides answers and raises questions.
Germany: wing pliers work
After the first defeat against France, the debate over the position of Joshua Kimmich extended again. But Joachim Loew did not respond to demands to bring Kimmich back from the right wing and played in the same formation on Saturday in a convincing 4-2 win over Portugal.
Confidence in the chosen path paid off: winger Kimmich/Robin Gosens made the difference against Portugal and played a key role in all four goals. She forced her own goals from 0-1 to 2-1 with sharp crosses in the dangerous area, Gossens put 3-1 in favor of Havertz, Goossens himself scored 4-1. “Both deliberately in attack are higher than against France, and they both did an excellent job, which is why we were often behind the defense, with very good passes there, with changes in the match,” Loew explained.
The Germans seem to have made it to the championship. Machwinner Goossens, Remo Froeller’s Atalanta Bergamo teammate in the club’s daily life, received special acclaim: “He has quickly asserted himself with us and gained a foothold in the team. As a person, we really appreciate him because he is very open and active in communication. Like he plays with irrepressible commitment. He also fights for things that are important to him.”
France: a sauna in Budapest
The favorite title had caused him to sweat more than he would have liked in Budapest’s Puskas Square. Temperatures above 30 degrees and a hit of 56,000 French spectators, the outgoing Hungarian group used this to get a point. “It was a tough match,” said Antoine Griezmann, 1-1 France player. “The grass was dry and it was hot and humid. We’re not used to filling the stadium anymore. We didn’t hear each other.”
The world champion’s highly decorated attack, which was refined with Karim Benzema, has scored just two goals in the current tournament. Griezmann sees something similar to the success of the last World Cup: “It reminds me of 2018, we struggled in the group stage.” Results in group matches at that time: 2-1 against Australia, 1-0 against Peru, 0-0 against Denmark.
Not only because of the similarity, there are still serious doubts about the world champion. France top Group F ahead of Germany and Portugal, and a draw on Wednesday against defending champions Portugal is enough to advance to the knockout stage.
Spanish: “red alert”
0:0 against Sweden, 1:1 against Poland: Despite two matches at home in Seville, Spain did not get off to a good start in this European championship. The attack is particularly alarming. Opinions differ and criticism is growing.
Against Poland, the Spaniards were on their way on Saturday after Alvaro Morata’s first goal. However, their inability contributed to the fact that they remained without a win at the European Championship for the fourth time in a row. Robert Lewandowski equalized in the 54th minute, shortly afterwards, Gerard Moreno hit the post and gave Morata the difference.
It’s hard to imagine that Spain will be playing for the title in three weeks’ time. “The team is not optimistic,” suspects El Mundo Deportivo. “Marca” and “As” were written from “Red Alert” (“Alerta Roja”) in reference to the team’s nickname “Furia Roja” (Red Wrath). “Near the Abyss” was the title of “Sports”.
But not everyone sees the glass as half empty. For example, full-back Jordi Alba said: “I really think we’re doing well at the moment.” If Alba is right, Spain will beat Slovakia on Wednesday and advance to the Round of 16.