Alphonse Areola the star as France and Germany play out dour draw
UEFA Nations League, Group A1, Allianz Arena - Germany 0 France 0
The last two world champions shared a disappointing match in Munich that was only really lit up by Alphonse Areola's impressive performance in goal.
At no point did the contest find any pace or rhythm - though Antonio Rudiger did his best to supply some needle early on, introducing studs to Benjamin Pavard's neck. The referee did nothing on the challenge although Rudiger was later booked for a different incident.
Benjamin Pavard of France receives medical treatment during the UEFA Nations League Group A match between Germany and France at Allianz Arena on September 6, 2018 in Munich, Germany.Getty Images
After the break, things did improve slightly, and just after the hour mark both teams forced saves from the opposing keeper which looked decent enough - though, had they conceded, criticism would have been plentiful.
In the time that remained, Germany did most to seek a winner, forcing a couple of excellent saves from Areola, but they couldn't find a way through.
What is Didier Deschamps' plan? When he won the World Cup as a player, France were not a great team, but they became one in the following years, and the same was so and could be so of the side he now manages. But given the players they have, it is hard to imagine how they could be worse - they are dull, stodgy and functional, waiting for a counter or a moment of inspiration when they have the class and variety to play teams off the park. It really doesn't have to be this way.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Alphonse Areola (France): Few players impressed but Areola kept his team in it with some impressive saves late on. With World Cup-winning captain Hugo Lloris nw into his 30s it will be encouraging for Deschamps that Areola is ready to step up.
Alphonse Areola Getty Images
3’ - Germany set Rudiger away down the left and he looks to hit the line, but Pavard slides in to concede the corner, getting trampled in the process. That looked naughty, and there's a break while he's looked at.
37’ - Kante finds space to cross and picks out Giroud, leaping between two defenders, but Neuer saves his header.
45+1’ - Giroud crosses from the right and Ginter does enough to see it away, but not without difficulty, then Mbappe crosses and Giroud just misses with a flick.I suppose that's the closest we've come to a goal, and wasn't really very close.
65’ - Ginter again gives the width and crosses low for Reus, who takes the shot on first time, forcing Areola to spring and tip away.
72’ - Better from Germany, piling forward on the break with ... Hummels! Found by Reus, he has a look, then clips a cross Muller who should go with head but instead tries to chest and is crowded out. But the ball quickly makes its way back to Hummels, who drills a shot that Areloa punches away.
75’ - Muller comes in off the right and looks to cross, getting too much of it ... and Areola has to tip over the bar! Then, from the corner, Ginter is up between Pogba and Varane, heading down and across ... but what a fine save that is from Areola, diving to shove away. He's had a very acceptable debut.
Germany had more shots in the 2nd half (10) than France during the whole match (8).
Germany have won only 1 of their last 5 matches on home soil