Euro 2024 hosts Germany ease to victory against tournament favourites France

By Sports Desk March 23, 2024

Florian Wirtz scored after just seven seconds as Germany grabbed a surprise 2-0 friendly win over France in Lyon.

The 20-year-old Bayer Leverkusen forward struck moments after kick-off as the Euro 2024 hosts stunned the tournament favourites.

There was also an immediate assist for Toni Kroos, back in a Germany shirt three years after announcing his international retirement.

Straight from the whistle, the 34-year-old chipped the ball forward to Wirtz, who had darted to midway inside the France half.

Wirtz controlled the ball, took two more touches as he strolled forward before lashing his shot home from 20 yards.

It was the youngster’s first goal for his country and would have been the fastest international goal on record had Austria’s Christoph Baumgartner not opened the scoring after six seconds in his country’s friendly against Slovakia earlier on Saturday.

The previous quickest was Lukas Podolski’s strike for Germany against Ecuador in 2013.

France dominated the rest of the first half but Marcus Thuram side-footed their first decent chance over the crossbar from the edge of the box.

Kylian Mbappe then brought down a cross in the area only to shank his shot wide, before Aurelien Tchouameni skied a cross from Ousmane Dembele.

But Germany made it to half-time in front and promptly doubled their lead three minutes into the second half.

Wirtz turned provider, lifting the ball into the path of Jamal Musiala, who drove diagonally round France goalkeeper Brice Samba.

The Bayern Munich winger reached the byline before pulling the ball back for Arsenal forward Havertz to slot in his 15th international goal.

Mbappe, enduring a quiet evening, got himself booked after a tussle with Robert Andrich before firing an ambitious shot wide.

Stuttgart defender Maximilian Mittelstadt almost made it a debut to remember 10 minutes from full-time when he strode forward and fired goalwards.

His shot looked destined to nestle inside the far post until Samba stretched to get a fingertip to the ball and divert it wide.

Samba also denied Thomas Muller with a fine one-handed save after the substitute shot from 14 yards.

Mittelstadt was spared a comical own goal late on by a goal-line clearance from Antonio Rudiger, who sliced the ball onto his own crossbar to cap an ultimately disappointing night for the French.

Related items

  • Kjaer to leave Milan at end of season Kjaer to leave Milan at end of season

    Milan defender Simon Kjaer will leave the Serie A club at the end of the current campaign, he announced on Tuesday.

    The 35-year-old Denmark captain arrived at the San Siro in January 2020 on loan from Sevilla before signing a permanent deal at the end of that season.

    In a video shared on Milan's page on the social media platform X, Kjaer said: "This is my club. It's my place. It always will be.

    "My time here was the pride and dream that gave me great joy and a lot of satisfaction in my career and life.

    Kjaer played 120 matches for the club and won the Serie A title in 2022, but has struggled with injuries this season, managing just 24 appearances in all competitions.

  • Pochettino leaves Chelsea after one season Pochettino leaves Chelsea after one season

    Mauricio Pochettino will leave Chelsea by mutual consent after one season in charge, the club announced on Tuesday.

    Despite a poor start to the season, Pochettino led Chelsea to a sixth-place finish, confirming a European place - an improvement on their 12th-place finish in 2022-23.

    He also led them to the EFL Cup final and the semi-final of the FA Cup.

    Speculation surrounded Pochettino's position during the latter stages of the Premier League campaign, though he remained tight-lipped about his future.

    The Argentinian had one year left on his contract but now leaves the club with immediate effect.

    In a club statement, Pochettino said: "Thank you to the Chelsea ownership group and Sporting Directors for the opportunity to be part of this football club's history.

    "The club is now well positioned to keep moving forward in the Premier League and Europe in the years to come."

    Sporting Directors Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley said: "On behalf of everyone at Chelsea, we would like to express our gratitude to Mauricio for his service this season.

    "He will be welcome back to Stamford Bridge any time, and we wish him all the very best in his future coaching career."

     

  • Alonso wants to write more history with Leverkusen in Europa League final Alonso wants to write more history with Leverkusen in Europa League final

    Xabi Alonso is hopeful that his Bayer Leverkusen side can make more history in their Europa League final against Atalanta on Wednesday.

    Leverkusen became the first side in Bundesliga history to go unbeaten in a single season on their way to the top-flight title, and across all competitions, they have not lost any of their last 51 matches.

    Now, they have the opportunity to complete an unbeaten treble if they can get past Atalanta before taking on Kaiserslautern in the DFB-Pokal on Saturday.

    Only three sides have previously won the competition without losing a game – Chelsea in 2018-19, Villarreal in 2020-21 and Eintracht Frankfurt in 2021-22, with Leverkusen looking to be added to that list.

    Alonso is taking charge of his first European final as a manager and highlights the ambition the club have to do something significant.

    "It would mean a lot, a lot to me [to win a European trophy]," he told UEFA. "To be able to share it with the people from the club, with the fans.

    "You see what it meant when we won the Bundesliga. To be able to win a European title after so many years since we won [the UEFA Cup in 1988] would be historic, and we want to do that, to have a historic season.

    "It would be something written in golden letters, not only in the history of our club but probably all European football. I hope we can."

    Like his counterpart, Atalanta manager Gian Piero Gasperini is also taking charge of a European final for the first time in his career.

    The Italian side clinched a top-five finish in Serie A with their win over Lecce on Saturday and are looking to win their first major trophy in 61 years.

    Looking back on the season, Gasperini says he is proud of the work his side have done to make it through to the club's first European final.

    "It feels good," Gasperini said. "It's a great achievement and source of satisfaction, achieved with a really good season from this whole team.

    "Is it the highest point of my career? Yes, in terms of accomplishment and prestige, absolutely. In terms of gratification, fortunately, I've had quite a few, although perhaps not on the same level.

    "This team always wanted it. Sometimes, you get teams who are good technically but lacking in determination and hunger.

    "From the start, from the group stage, since we played in Lisbon, in a group where we were not the favourites – Sporting [CP] were the favourites – we played great matches against strong opponents. Of course, winning at Anfield boosted our confidence even more."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.