Didier Deschamps’s side are already being tipped to avenge their 2016 final defeat and go all the way this year, while Joachim Low will be praying for one last dance at Die Mannschaft
Twenty-one years on from masterminding France’s triumph at Euro 2000 on the field, Deschamps will now endeavour to add a continental manager’s medal to his ever-impressive haul of success, and the memories of their glorious World Cup summer three years ago still live fresh in the minds of the early favourites.
France may have suffered an unforeseen defeat to Turkey during qualification for Euro 2020, but their place in the finals was never up for debate, and it is only fitting to see France take their spot in the group of death alongside Germany, Hungary and reigning European champions Portugal.
Fielding near full-strength outfits in friendlies with Wales and Bulgaria certainly sent a message to the rest of the continent that France are in no position to mess around this summer, and Deschamps witnessed his fear-inducing crop ease to 3-0 successes in both games ahead of Euro 2020.
Not since the inaugural tournament in 1960 have Les Bleus suffered defeat during their opening game – losing a thrilling encounter 5-4 to Yugoslavia 61 years ago – and with Deschamps’s rearguard boasting four clean sheets in their last four games, Germany’s potent attackers have their work cut out for them.
A page in football’s history books is also on the line for Deschamps, who could become the first person ever to enjoy World Cup and Euros triumphs as a player and manager, but his adversary Low has an entirely different motivation for a summer of success.
Germany manager Low was barely five months old when the first European Championships took place in France, and 61 years on, the much-admired manager gears up for one last shot at international glory before stepping down from his Mannschaft post.
Low will always have the 2014 World Cup win to look back fondly on, but he is yet to oversee a triumphant campaign on the continental stage, as a runners-up medal in 2008 preceded two semi-final finishes in the 2012 and 2016 editions for the Germans.
The 61-year-old’s imminent resignation comes at a time where Germany have fallen victim to some truly demoralising results – namely a 6-0 drubbing at the hands of Spain and 2-1 defeat to North Macedonia – but they managed to put seven past Latvia in their final warm-up game before the Euros.
The less said about Germany’s futile attempts at Russia 2018 the better, but a new tournament brings with it new opportunities for the ever-hopeful Mannschaft, who will step foot onto the field for a record-breaking 50th time at a European Championship on Tuesday night.
Germany also boast a 12-game unbeaten record during their opening games of the Euros, but it was France who ended their dreams of glory five years ago, as a brace from Griezmann saw Les Bleus dump their rivals out in the semi-finals, and Die Mannschaft are winless in their last five encounters with the reigning world champions.