With everyone bigging up the chances of France, England and Belgium ahead of Euro 2020, it’s easy to feel like Germany are being overlooked. Setting aside the fact that they crashed out of the World Cup at the group stage three years ago, Germany have been one of the most consistent teams in international football over the last couple of decades, and should never be ruled out.
This summer’s tournament will be coach Joachim Löw’s last as Germany boss, with the man who led them to World Cup glory in 2014 set to depart the role at the end of the competition. As a result, you can imagine that the players will be hugely motivated to give their boss of 15 years a fitting send-off, perhaps with a European Championships winner’s medal around his neck.
Points to prove
The 2018 World Cup campaign was a disaster by all accounts. Germany failed to get going in any of their matches, losing to Mexico in their opening game before a last-gasp Toni Kroos free-kick earned a win against Sweden. By the time they faced South Korea in their final group game, Germany desperately needed a win to progress to the last 16, but instead they succumbed to another embarrassing reversal, losing 2-0 in Kazan to end up bottom of the group.
Listed as slight outsiders in the Euros winner odds, Germany will feel like they have a lot of making up to do at Euro 2020 this summer, and we may well see the players extremely fired up from the get-go. The last thing anyone wants is for Löw’s reign to end in a whimper, and we may see some more familiar winning performances from Germany in the group stage this time around.
While the team has now changed quite a bit since Germany won the World Cup in 2014, there are still plenty of strong players within their ranks, and a few experienced heads as well. The likes of Manuel Neuer, Mats Hummels, Kroos and Thomas Müller will all be expected to play a big part, and having won a major tournament before, their experience will be crucial if Germany are to enjoy success this summer.
There are also several exciting younger players in the Germany squad, not least Kai Havertz, who scored the winning goal in the Champions League final to put a sheen on what has been a challenging first season at Chelsea. He’ll be extremely motivated to prove his worth in a Germany shirt, and it would be no surprise if he produced some magical performances throughout the tournament.
Of course, it won’t be easy, as Germany have been drawn in the group of death, which also contains defending champions Portugal, world champions and tournament favourites France, and plucky Hungary, who will be keen to reach the last 16 as they did at Euro 2020. There are no easy matches, and Löw’s team will need to be switched on from the very start.
But that could well prove to be a blessing in disguise. With no room for complacency whatsoever, Germany will know that they simply need to produce their best in the group stage, otherwise they risk going home early once again. No-one in the group will want to rely on reaching the last 16 by being one of the best-ranked third-place teams, and that’s why Germany will be giving everything to earn nine points from this extremely challenging group.
They may not be everyone’s top pick for the tournament, but rule Germany out at your peril.