Cristiano Ronaldo is a "source of inspiration for everyone", according to France forward Antoine Griezmann.

France face Ronaldo's Portugal in their final Group F game at Euro 2020, in what is a repeat of the Euro 2016 final.

Despite Ronaldo succumbing to injury on that night in Paris, Portugal went on to clinch the trophy with a 1-0, extra-time victory.

Both teams played on Saturday but fell short of the results they wanted. France could only draw 1-1 with Hungary in Budapest, while Portugal were beaten 4-2 by Germany.

Ronaldo put Fernando Santos' side ahead in Munich, taking his tally to the tournament to three goals in two games, while he is now on 107 international goals, two shy of matching the record set by Iran great Ali Daei.

Ronaldo has now scored 19 goals at World Cups and Euros – no European player has ever netted more across the two competitions, with only Miroslav Klose scoring as many.

The 36-year-old has also scored in 14 different major competition matches, the joint-most of any European player, alongside Germany greats Klose and Jurgen Klinsmann, though Ronaldo has never found the net against France, failing to score against them in 439 minutes of action across six games.

Saturday's results leave Group F firmly in the balance, with France needing to beat Portugal to guarantee top spot, while defeat could well see them finish third.

Regardless of what is riding on Wednesday's clash, Griezmann lauded Ronaldo – as well as his Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi – as an inspirational force.

"[He is] a source of inspiration for everyone," Griezmann told a news conference.

"It is extraordinary what he is doing at 36 years old. He and Messi, there will be no one like them, we are lucky to meet them on the field.

"He is a complete player, an example for all young and old, he can show the way for many young people."

Griezmann got France's equaliser against Hungary, levelling from close range to score his 11th major tournament goal.

Only Michel Platini (14), Just Fontaine (13) and Thierry Henry (10) have more for France, while only Henry and Platini have scored in more matches at World Cups or Euros than Griezmann, who will draw level with the duo should he score again at Euro 2020.

Asked if he is eyeing up Platini's record, Griezmann replied: "We are talking about a legend. That is not my main objective.

"I would rather win without scoring rather than draw by scoring. I prefer to help the team. If we score, so much the better for everybody."

One player who thrived for France in their win over Germany, but failed to replicate the performance against Hungary, was Paul Pogba, but Griezmann insisted the midfielder's display cannot be too harshly judged.

"We are not going to question a player when he was a little less good compared to the last match. It was very hot. Even I was tired," Griezmann said.

"That's how it is. He will have another match against Portugal to prove that he can go on and keep that level against Germany in every game."

As for Pogba himself, the Manchester United man believes the result in Budapest presents a wake-up call for tournament favourites Les Bleus.

"You should never compare matches against Germany or Hungary," Pogba told Telefoot.

"We are still a little disappointed because we wanted to win and qualify [for the last 16]. Now there is still one game left. It's not a slap, but a little pat on the face to say, 'guys, we know what's in store for us.'"

Didier Deschamps praised Hungary for producing "the match of their lives" in Saturday's Euro 2020 clash and says France must be satisfied with the 1-1 draw at Puskas Arena.

Attila Fiola's strike just before half-time put the hosts, who were backed by a raucous crowd of around 61,000 spectators, on course for a famous European Championship victory.

France squandered a number of chances before that opening goal and hit the post through substitute Ousmane Dembele, but they did eventually find a way through.

A long pass from Hugo Lloris was met by Kylian Mbappe, who teed up Antoine Griezmann with the help of a scuffed Willi Orban clearance for his strike partner to fire home.

France would have booked a place in the knockout stages with a victory, but their failure to find a winner means that the world champions are left waiting on their last-16 spot.

Hungary frustrated Portugal before ultimately losing 3-0 earlier this week and Deschamps insists there is no shame in being held by a side ranked 37th in the world.

"Hungary put on the match of their lives. Good for them," Deschamps told beIN SPORTS. 

"We had chances in the first half and found ourselves behind to their only opportunity. They had a lot of support and that clearly gave them strength.

"They defended really well, as they did against Portugal until late on. It's a point. It's not what we hoped for but given the context, we will take it anyway."

France beat Germany 1-0 in their opening Group F game and still have Portugal to face in the final round of fixtures next week.

"It is an important point today because it leaves the cards in our hands for the last game," Deschamps added.

"There are things to improve and I knew we were not going to crush every team, even after playing a good game and beating Germany.

"Our objective is to qualify for the next round and we've still got a bit of leeway with our four points, even though we'd have liked to come out of this game with six."

Asked if changes will be made for that showdown with fellow heavyweights and reigning European champions Portugal, Deschamps gave little away.

"Maybe," he said. "The next game will be important. I might shake things up as fresh legs can be important. With the temperature as high as it was today, it was very difficult."

Dembele looked lively after being brought on shortly before the hour mark, but he was replaced by Thomas Lemar just 30 minutes later.

He was holding the back of his leg when leaving the field and Deschamps has confirmed the Barcelona forward sustained another injury.

"It's a blow to his tendon, behind the knee," Deschamps said at his post-match news conference. "We will have to check, but he was in enough discomfort to come off."

France are unbeaten in nine matches at major tournaments, although Saturday's draw ended their five-match winning run at such competitions.

It is the first time Hungary have avoided defeat to France in any competition since May 1976, ending a five-game losing run against Les Bleus.

The Magyars are still in with a shot of advancing from Group F with a trip to Germany to come and head coach Marco Rossi is delighted by the effort put in by his players so far.

"I can only thank the team," Rossi told M4 Sport. "They played an exceedingly good tactical match and carried out their business with the correct amount of bravery and heart.

"Nowadays, many coaches are convinced that the team wins because of the coach's tactics. They're wrong. The players are always the lead characters. Today they performed.

"We knew there would be difficult moments during the match, when things didn't go as we wanted, but we're working to cope with those. 

"We possess players who are committed and work hard every day to improve themselves. We have our limits, but it really augurs well for the future."

Antoine Griezmann admits playing in front of a full stadium in sweltering conditions affected France in their surprise 1-1 Euro 2020 draw with Hungary on Saturday.

Barcelona forward Griezmann equalised 24 minutes from time in Budapest to cancel out Attila Fiola's first-half opener and salvage Les Blues a point in the Group F match.

Hungary were spurred on by a raucous crowd, with around 61,000 spectators in attendance thanks to an easing of coronavirus restrictions in the Hungarian capital.

France had to settle for a point that leaves them waiting on a place in the last 16 and Griezmann puts his side's disjointed display down to a couple of factors.

"It was a difficult match for us," he told beIN SPORTS. "With the fans here in a full stadium, we lost our normal habits. We struggled to get along and it was also super-hot.

"We got caught out at the back and didn't know how to find each other. We didn't know how to put away our chances in the first half.

"We know that we have players on the bench to make the difference at any time. We have to continue to work hard and improve."

Griezmann's goal was his seventh at the Euros, putting him behind only Cristiano Ronaldo (11) and Michel Platini (nine) in the list of the competition's all-time top scorers.

That strike did at least rescue France a point that moves them to the top of Group F ahead of Germany's clash with Portugal – Les Blues' next opponents – in Munich.

France were never quite at their best in the group stage before going on to win the 2018 World Cup, and Griezmann is confident that his side will improve as Euro 2020 goes on.

"It reminds me a little of the World Cup when we were made to suffer in the group stage," he told TF1. "We will have to quickly recover and go again against Portugal. 

"We always knew it would be complicated in the heat and noise in the stands. I have full confidence in the group."

Fiola's goal was the first France had conceded in 527 minutes, but they battled back to make it nine matches without defeat at major tournaments.

Skipper Hugo Lloris is staying positive after the draw with Hungary, which ends a run of five successive wins in all competitions.

"We gave 100 per cent to get the draw today, even if that is not the result we wanted," he told TF1. "We have to be content with the scoreline.

"The opposition made the most of their chance and were well organised, helped by their supporters. We're disappointed but you have to stay positive."

Asked if the heat played a part as well as the deafening home crowd, Lloris said: "That plays a part, but conceding a goal just before half-time also didn't help us.

"If we had taken the lead it would have changed the dynamics. But we came back into the game and have to be satisfied and recover for the next match."

World champions France were unable to confirm their place in the Euro 2020 knockout stages as they were held to a surprise 1-1 draw by Hungary amid a raucous atmosphere in Budapest.

Hungary frustrated Portugal for 84 minutes before their defence was breached in their opening game and they gave France an almighty scare in Saturday's clash in front of a deafening home crowd, which saw them rewarded with a point.

After squandering a few big chances, France's run of 527 minutes without conceding was ended by Attila Fiola's goal just before half-time at the packed Puskas Arena.

Antoine Griezmann fired in a leveller with 66 minutes played, but Les Blues – who saw a late penalty appeal dismissed – could not find a winning goal and had to settle for a point that leaves them waiting on their place in the last 16.

Peter Gulacsi made a brilliant save after 14 minutes to keep out Griezmann from close range, but the offside flag likely would have denied the forward had he scored.

Kylian Mbappe then sent a free header spinning wide after being picked out by Lucas Digne and Karim Benzema miscued off target from an even bigger chance soon after.

Those missed opportunities came back to haunt France as Fiola was played in behind down the left after a one-two with Roland Sallai and coolly converted past Hugo Lloris.

The introduction of Ousmane Dembele around the hour mark gave France a spark and the Barcelona forward struck the outside of the post two minutes after coming on.

France's pressure told seven minutes later when Mbappe – spotted by a Lloris pass – teed up Griezmann with the help of a scuffed Willi Orban clearance for a simple finish.

Mbappe guided a Griezmann delivery into the side netting and Gulacsi was alert to Mbappe's next attempt as France, whose appeals for a stoppage-time spot-kick following some shirt grabbing at a set-piece were denied, failed to find a winner.

Olivier Giroud has made history by winning 100 caps for France while playing under coach Didier Deschamps.

No other player for Les Bleus has ever recorded a century of senior international appearances with the same man in charge.

The Chelsea striker, who made his France debut back in November 2011, won his first eight caps under Laurent Blanc, who resigned following the Euro 2012 finals.

Deschamps took over in July 2012 and has since made Giroud a mainstay of his plans. The 34-year-old's 100th game under the former midfielder came in Saturday's Euro 2020 clash with Hungary.

The closest players to Giroud's tally under Deschamps are Antoine Griezmann (93 appearances), Hugo Lloris (90), Paul Pogba (82) and Blaise Matuidi (80).

 

Giroud scored 45 goals in his first 99 games under Deschamps, including nine in 16 European Championship matches, taking qualifiers into account.

He netted just once in 12 World Cup finals games, although he played in every single game of France's triumph at the 2018 tournament in Russia.

Giroud's first goal of the Deschamps era came against Spain in a World Cup qualifier in October 2012, while his one hat-trick was scored in a friendly with Paraguay in June 2017.

The former Arsenal forward, who scored once in Blanc's time at the helm, needs only five more goals to match Thierry Henry's all-time France record of 51.

 

Didier Deschamps anticipates Hungary presenting world champions France with a dangerous test as Les Bleus look to seal their place in the last 16 of Euro 2020.

France were not at their best in an entertaining 1-0 win over Germany, but the fact only the offside flag prevented their victory from being more emphatic in a game where they clearly had several other gears sent an ominous message to the other contenders for the title.

But they have work to do to win Group F, from which they will progress should they beat Hungary, with Portugal having shown their mettle with a late show against the same opposition in Budapest to prevail 3-0.

Yet Deschamps was impressed by what he saw from the minnows of the group prior to Raphael Guerreiro's 84th-minute opener, which preceded a Cristiano Ronaldo brace, and is expecting his side to receive a stern examination in front of a crowd of 65,000.

"Obviously the support of fans for a home side is very important, this helped them [Hungary] against Portugal because let's not forget up to 80th minute it was 0-0," he told a media conference. 

"They actually were the first to hit the back of the net but unfortunately the goal was disallowed.

"They're a highly efficient team, well structured, they have an Italian coach and I think this has a lot to do with it. Hungary will be playing at home, therefore I'm expecting them to be just as dangerous as they were against Portugal."

Marco Rossi is the man tasked with guiding Hungary to what would be one of the biggest upsets in European Championship history, having accepted blame for the margin of defeat against Portugal.

"We came apart at the seams," said Rossi. "That was my fault. I made too many changes that didn't work.

"We were trailing and we needed to do something. I did that and clearly I got it wrong. Occasionally you can hold your hands up and saw you made a mistake."

France will have full-backs Lucas Hernandez and Benjamin Pavard available in Budapest. Hernandez had what Deschamps described as "a niggle" while Pavard suffered a head injury in the win over Germany.

Antoine Griezmann is in line to feature in a record 50th consecutive game for France and facing the Barcelona star, Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema, Hungary can ill-afford to have their structure come apart once more.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Hungary - Gergo Lovrencsics

Lovrencsics will look to test Hernandez's fitness if he retains his place on the right flank after providing a threat from that side against Portugal.

He produced two good open play crosses against Portugal and was one of just three Hungary players to create a chance in that defeat.

Should the play become stretched, Lovrencsics may be the player to whom Hungary turn to take advantage.

France - Adrien Rabiot

While it is tough to take your eyes off Mbappe and Co. up front, Rabiot's display against Germany was worthy of greater attention.

The midfielder had the highest passing accuracy of any player on the France team (93 per cent) and was tied with Pavard (89.5%) for the best passing accuracy in the opposition half.

He also did his fair share of work in defence. Rabiot made three interceptions, tied with Paul Pogba for the most among France players, while only the Manchester United star (12) won possession more times than the Juventus man (9).

In what may develop into a high-octane match in front of a vociferous crowd, Rabiot's composure and strengths as a box-to-box midfielder could be pivotal for France.

 

KEY OPTA FACTS

- France have won each of their last five matches against Hungary (12 goals, 3 against), a run that started with their 3-1 group stage victory at the 1978 World Cup. They had only won three of their previous 17 games against Hungary (D2 L12).

- Les Bleus have beaten Hungary only once in their eight games played on Hungarian soil (D1 L6), that was in March 1990 at Budapest's Nepstadion (3-1, including a brace from Eric Cantona).

- France have won their last five matches in all competitions, doing so without conceding a single goal. They haven't won six games in a row since June 2016, when the final two games in the run were their opening two matches of Euro 2016.

- Going into MD2, Hungary have conceded more goals at the last two European Championships combined than anyone else, letting in 11 goals in five matches, including seven in their last two games alone (0-4 vs Belgium at Euro 2016, 0-3 vs Portugal at Euro 2020).

- Only Finland (1) and Turkey (3) had fewer shots on MD1 of EURO 2020 than France (4), while only opponents Hungary (0.18) and Russia (0.26) have posted a lower Expected Goal (xG) total than the French (0.28).

- During 2021, only Italy (6) have kept more clean sheets among European nations than France (5), who have kept a clean sheet in their last five matches in all competitions. They last kept six in a row between March and September 2007 under Raymond Domenech.

- Benzema – who is 10th on the list of all-time top scorers for the French national team with 27 goals – has never scored a goal at the Euros in seven previous appearances. Since 1980, his 28 efforts at goal without scoring in the competition are the third-most of any player, behind Spain's Andres Iniesta (34) and the Netherlands' Clarence Seedorf (33).

Fernando Santos is well aware of the threats possessed by Germany but insists Portugal will not go into Saturday's clash just looking to negate their opponents' strengths.

Portugal began their Euro 2020 defence with a 3-0 win over Hungary on Tuesday though it arguably was not as clear-cut as the scoreline suggested, with all three goals coming in the final 10 minutes - a European Championship first.

Nevertheless, it was a vital late flurry given matches against Germany and France await in Group F, their meeting with Die Mannschaft on Saturday practically a must-win for Joachim Low's men after their 1-0 defeat to Les Bleus.

France's set-up against the Germans seemed to raise eyebrows due to the level of their pragmatism – their average starting position of 32.8 metres from their own goal is the second-lowest at the tournament so far, highlighting how Didier Deschamps' men looked to absorb pressure.

 

Similarly, France showed very little willingness to press, particularly in advanced areas. On average they allowed Germany 55 passes before initiating a defensive action outside of their own defensive third, 22.7 more than any other team, which shows just how extreme Les Blues' counterattacking approach was.

France restricted Germany to just one shot on target, though it seems Portugal will not be looking to implement similar tactics.

"Portugal and Germany are two very strong teams," Santos told reporters on Friday. "Just count the number of German players who were in the Champions League final.

"Germany really wants to have the ball, to be a steamroller and push the opponent back. Afterwards, they attack with depth, but from closer [to goal] rather than in counterattacks.

 

"But they will also have to adapt to us. We are different from France. Let's see what Germany does and we'll try to control Germany too. One thing's for certain, we have to have a ball.

"We are not going to defend man to man. We're going to maintain our defensive pattern to be able to have the ball, as we did against Hungary, whom we forced to run.

"I don't know what Joachim [Low] is going to do. Germany has been oscillating between the two ways of playing [back three and back four].

"He has lined up with four in defence, where one of them was [Emre] Can and three in midfield, and more recently he has gone back to three at the back, with two in midfield and three forwards.

"If we pay attention, the game against France already showed nuances, with [Joshua] Kimmich more in midfield and [Matthias] Ginter on the right in the second half. Our players know this, they have already been warned about it."

 

Ruben Dias says Portugal are not getting carried away after making a winning start.

"We're up against a high-level team, one of the best at the European Championship," he said. "Although we started the Euros very well, we need to keep our feet on the ground, take what there is to take out, but also understand that we have to be better [than against Hungary] to win this game."

Didier Deschamps has hailed Antoine Griezmann as "one of the greatest players of all time" ahead of France's Euro 2020 encounter with Hungary on Saturday.

Griezmann is fourth on the list of Les Bleus' all-time leading goalscorers with 37 from 92 appearances.

The Barcelona forward was the leading scorer with six goals in the last European Championship and only Harry Kane bettered his tally of four when France won the World Cup in Russia three years ago.

Griezmann will have played in a record-extending 50 consecutive France games when he features in Budapest, where France can secure their place in the last 16 after beating Germany 1-0 in their opening match.

France boss Deschamps lavished praise on the former Atletico Madrid man for the all-round contribution he makes for the tournament favourites.

"Above and beyond the fact he's playing consecutive games, which is wonderful for him, he may not be 20 but he takes very good care of himself, he's a professional and managed to avoid different injuries he could have had," Deschamps said in a media conference on Friday.

"The statistics speak for themselves, you can see the influence he has for the French national team through the goals he has scored and through his assists.

"Add to that the capacity to change games and get stuck in and defend when we don't have the ball. He's one of the greatest players of all time in Europe and worldwide."

Deschamps added: "He is one of our technical leaders. He is a game changer with the way he moves, the control he has with the ball and the goals he is capable of scoring, and his assists. He is an offensive player, a very creative player and has this ability to think outside the box. 

"That's something he has proven to us time and again, it's remarkable to watch even though he's happy to get back and defend. Maybe he does that a little bit too much.

"I'm not going to take this away from him. It is completely natural for him and important to our balance. This doesn't prevent him from being a huge player and from having a huge presence on the pitch with regards to his efficiency up front."

Deschamps confirmed that full-back Benjamin Pavard will be fit to play despite suffering a blow to the head in the victory over Germany.

Aymeric Laporte has insisted he is paying little attention to the "political agenda" driving criticism of his surprise selection in the Spain squad for Euro 2020.

Born in Agen in the south of France, the defender represented Les Bleus' youth teams from U17s level all the way through to the U21s.

He was also twice called up by the senior national side but injury and a failure to convince manager Didier Deschamps of his worth meant he had not made an appearance by the age of 27.

However, an eight-year stint with Athletic Bilbao meant Laporte, whose great grandparents hailed from the Basque region, remained eligible for Spain, and Luis Enrique took advantage by including him in the squad for this summer's European Championship.

The Manchester City man performed impressively in his first competitive appearance for his new nation - a 0-0 draw with Sweden - winning all three of his aerial duels and completing more passes (115) than any other player on the pitch.

But the move continues to prove controversial in some quarters, with one Spanish journalist recently asking Laporte if he "[felt] Spanish enough to be able to defend the badge, the flag, the nation, the anthem".

Still, the player remains unperturbed by the debate surrounding his involvement and told AFP: "There is a bit of everything, like anywhere, there are a lot of people who are in favour but there are many who are also against.

"There is a political agenda behind all that and I can see that it's not easy for everyone to accept. I also understand those people. Everything is fine, for now.

"There will be worse times to come and also the opposite. I just try to make the most of the good moments and push the bad ones aside because otherwise I know it'll be a rollercoaster."

Laporte's inclusion was considered even more contentious given it came off the back of Spain and Real Madrid icon Sergio Ramos being excluded from the squad.

But he insisted the two decisions were not directly linked, and lavished praise upon his fellow centre-back.

"This is what the press wanted to blame me for a bit," he added. "The manager said he was injured so it has nothing to do with me. I'm also not the only centre-back in the squad so I don't think it's my fault.

"There's no extra pressure. I'm here to do my job, to fight for Spain in my own way.

"He is an icon in the world of football. I have watched him a lot since I was young. He is the benchmark.

"I love his character, not his aggressive side, the red cards and all that, but his resilience to make a mistake and still come back stronger, not to hide behind his reputation. He is always ready to stand up and be counted."

Spain have failed to score in two of their last three outings, having taken 51 international fixtures to produce two goalless games prior to that.

But Laporte is calm about a disappointing start to this summer's tournament, which he hopes to put right against Poland on Saturday.

"The results will say everything," he continued. "A lot of people think they know football but then the complete opposite to what they predict happens.

"We just try to do our job and I would even say so much the better if they think that we're not ready because it takes the pressure off. It motivates us even more."

UEFA is satisfied with the France medical staff's assessment that Benjamin Pavard did not lose consciousness in Tuesday's Euro 2020 clash with Germany.

Pavard claimed after Les Blues' 1-0 Euro 2020 victory over Germany that he "felt a little knocked out for 10 to 15 seconds" following a collision with Robin Gosens.

The right-back received treatment for several minutes at the Allianz Arena and was eventually allowed to continue playing.

Pavard's return to the pitch and subsequent comments drew criticism from world players' union FIFPro, who demanded answers from UEFA for failing to follow the "concussion charter".

The charter was signed by all 24 teams at Euro 2020 – a commitment to taking a series of measures to improve the care of players and includes neurological baseline testing and access to in-match television replays for team doctors.

However, UEFA released a statement on Thursday stating they are happy the France medical team did not breach a concussion protocol by allowing Pavard to play on.

"According to the reports that we received from the team doctor, it seems that a loss of consciousness did not occur," the statement read. 

"The team doctor did not find any reason to suspect a concussion either on the pitch or after thorough assessment made by a renowned specialist in this field in later follow-up.

"The player will nevertheless continue to be closely monitored over the coming days."

The statement added: "All 24 teams committed to follow the recommendations of the UEFA Concussion Charter before the start of the tournament and the responsibility for decision-making remains with the team doctor.

"If the team doctor has any doubts about unconsciousness or signs of concussion, he should remove the player from the field. 

"The team doctor is the only person who can take the decision for the player to stay on the pitch or be substituted. The team doctor's decision must always be respected, even if the player or the coach believes that the player is fit to continue."

France's 1-0 victory in Munich, sealed through Mats Hummels' first-half own goal, leaves them second to Portugal on goal difference in Group F ahead of Saturday's clash with Hungary in Budapest.

Raphael Varane lauded Paul Pogba after the midfielder starred for France in their Euro 2020 opener against Germany.

Didier Deschamps' world champions started their Group F campaign with a 1-0 win in Munich on Tuesday – Mats Hummels' own goal the difference.

France also had two goals disallowed for offside, with Germany never truly clicking into gear as Joachim Low's decision to recall some veteran campaigners did not go according to script.

Instrumental in the win was Pogba, whose exceptional pass to Lucas Hernandez ultimately resulted in the unfortunate Hummels, who looked ponderous and out of place in Germany's back three, turning into his own net.

Playing on the right of a midfield three alongside Adrien Rabiot and N'Golo Kante, Pogba attempted more passes (52) than any of his team-mates, with 40 of them (76.9 per cent) finding a blue shirt.

His 78 touches topped the charts for France, while no other player on the pitch drew more fouls (four), made more interceptions (three) or gained possession on more occasions (12) than the Manchester United man.

"He started very early with France, he plays with a lot of maturity, he has so many qualities," Varane said of Pogba.

"The difficulty for him is to choose when to use his force. He is a complete player. He has found a balance in his game, he has been performing for many years, he brings a lot to the group in relation to his character. He is at a very good level."

Asked if Pogba could be a choice to captain Les Bleus, Varane added: "The captain's armband for Pogba in the future? He's maturing. He has this strength of character, he knows how to convey that to the group, he is respected and on top of that he sets the mood!

"He's a leader, he could easily wear the French team's armband."

 

Varane partnered Samuel Umtiti during France's successful run at the 2018 World Cup, but played alongside the sometimes erratic Presnel Kimpembe at the heart of Les Bleus' defence on Tuesday.

They combined for 12 clearances – Varane's tally of nine a game-high – and looked solid against a Germany attack featuring Serge Gnabry, Kai Havertz and the returning Thomas Muller.

"It's a collective performance. When [Kylian] Mbappe loses a ball and recovers it five seconds later, that gives us strength," Varane said, referencing the high press France deployed at the Allianz Arena.

"Kimpembe and I have complementary qualities, we talk a lot. It's not a question of motivation in this kind of match. We motivate each other.

"We also spoke a lot with our midfield to defend well and succeed in countering opposing attacks. We had to be very focused."

Benjamin Pavard revealed he was knocked out for "10 to 15 seconds" before returning to the field in France's 1-0 win over Germany at Euro 2020.

Pavard sustained a head injury following a collision with Germany's Robin Gosens as world champions France opened their Group F campaign with victory on Tuesday.

France defender Pavard was left on the floor before receiving treatment for several minutes in Munich, where he was eventually allowed to continue.

"I took a hell of a shock," Pavard told beIN Sports post-match.

"I was a little knocked out for 10 to 15 seconds. After that, it was better."

A "concussion charter" was signed by all 24 teams at Euro 2020 – a commitment to taking a series of measures to improve the care of players and includes neurological baseline testing and access to in-match television replays for team doctors.

But the incident involving Pavard has raised further questions about concussion protocols in football.

FIFPro has long called for temporary concussion substitutions and the enforcement of a minimum six-day gradual return to play.

"The issue of concussion is a very serious issue. It's a health and safety issue, which is related to their work place. In my point of view, I don't think it's been addressed in the proper manner it should be addressed," FIFPro vice-president Francis Awaritefe previously told Stats Perform.

"We've seen the medical data around the long-term risks of concussion and how they can have a deleterious long-term effect for people who suffer concussion when it's not managed properly.

"We're really worried about it because football seems to be a long way behind some of the other sports in terms of protocols and just in terms of the way how seriously they're taking concussion.

"For me, it's a massive issue. We don't want to wait until a player has a serious injury that it might end their career or worse, we have a player die on the field or soon after because of a concussion issue that wasn't treated properly.

"As a sport, we need to reflect on this and get together with experts to come up with smart and proactive solutions to deal with this really, really serious issue."

Brendan Schwab – executive director of the World Players Association – also told Stats Perform previously: "When concussed, it's not the time for the player to make a decision as to whether they should continue in a game. That is a decision that needs to be placed in the hands of independent medical assessors who have no duty other than to act in the best interests of the player.

"There needs to be independent medical assessors on the sidelines. But we do expect this to be resisted because it is resisted in other sports. We now have independent medical assessors on the sidelines of the NFL and it's only because the NFLPA fought for that right. It was a battle.

"Now the suggestion that the club doctor knows the player better than another doctor, again, is not a medically-based comment. What we do know, however, is that the club doctor who is employed by the club has a conflict of interest. That conflict of interest needs to be minimised and voided in circumstances when dealing with head injuries.

"If FIFA doesn't change, what we will see is football leagues at the national level collectively bargain their own variation of the laws of the game. In Australia, the knowledge is clear that the clubs as employers would be in breach of health and safety requirements, and acting against the wishes of the unions, by putting players back into the game when they're clearly in a vulnerable position. What's to prevail there? Laws of the game or national health and safety laws? National health and safety laws have to prevail. It won't be a defence to any action for an employer to say 'we were simply providing an unsafe work practice at the behest of FIFA'."

Paul Pogba insisted France must deal with being labelled as favourites to win Euro 2020 after he led the way with a supreme performance against Germany.

Mats Hummels' own goal gifted Euro 2016 runners-up France a 1-0 win over Germany in their opening Group F encounter in Munich on Tuesday, putting Les Bleus well on their way to progressing to the last 16.

France – who finished with just one attempt on target – had opportunities to add to their lead, with Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema having goals disallowed for offside, though Joachim Low's Germany ultimately failed to make their luck count as they lost their opening game of a European Championship for the first time.

The winner came in fortuitous circumstances, with Hummels turning in from Lucas Hernandez's cross.

Pogba's exceptional pass played in France's left-back, however, and the Manchester United midfielder was on top form, attempting more passes (52) and more in Germany's half (31) than any Les Bleus player.

He also amassed a team-high 78 touches – albeit that total was 50 less than game-leader Toni Kroos (128) – and went in for 20 duels, the most of any player.

With the world champions having been tipped to lift the trophy they missed out on against Portugal on home soil five years ago, Pogba is adamant France must live up to the billing.

"The performance of the team is the most important. Without them, I would not have been so efficient," Pogba, who was also involved in a flashpoint with Antonio Rudiger when he appeared to complain that the Germany defender had bitten him, told M6.

"They helped me, they have everyone made the effort. This victory is for everyone, those who are also on the bench and in the stands to support us.

"Everyone was talking about our status as favourite, our attack, the group of death. We must assume our status with humility."

Didier Deschamps is aiming to become the first person to win the European Championship and World Cup as both a player and coach, and was delighted with a resilient display.

"We had a big match against a very good opponent," Deschamps told M6.

"I knew that my players were going to be ready, we were fighting for everything, even if in the first half we could have got the ball out a little better. We did not suffer that much in the second period. It's a tough game.

"This is our first game. In our group, taking these three points is important. We were at the level, this victory is good for us."

Deschamps' counterpart Low said he could not have asked for any more effort from his Germany side, who mustered 10 attempts to France's four, albeit only one of them hit the target.

"We really gave everything. We fought until the end, for 90 minutes," Low told beIN Sports.

"What we missed was a goal. We conceded a goal that we could have avoided, but otherwise I have no criticism to make. We lost a match, but we continue."

Germany next host defending champions Portugal, while France travel to Budapest to face Hungary.

There was a worrying incident shortly before France's Euro 2020 game with Germany involving a Greenpeace parachutist and the stadium Spidercam. No, honestly.

The apparent protester, his chute emblazoned with 'Kick out oil', slowly circled his way towards the Allianz Arena pitch but collided with the mechanism by which the camera was suspended. Debris almost hit Didier Deschamps in the France dugout, while the man was given medical attention after coming to rest on the turf. Nobody was injured, thankfully.

It turned out that surprising wonders dropping from the sky was the theme of the day, as France began their quest for continental glory with a 1-0 win in Munich. That's a circuitous route to talking about the spontaneous brilliance of Paul Pogba. No, honestly.

Twenty minutes had gone in the first meeting of Group F's three big guns. Germany and France had nullified one another, their 3-4-3 and 4-3-1-2 systems keeping the previous two World Cup winners from laying a glove on each other. Before the game, Deschamps described these teams as the best two in the continent, and you could certainly not accuse either side of lacking respect for their opponents.

Then, Pogba appeared. A throw-in from Benjamin Pavard, a one-two, a lay-off from Karim Benzema, and the ball was into the midfielder's feet. And then it was out of them, a languid, looping pass drifting over the heads of the German back three and into the path of Lucas Hernandez, the only player who seemed aware the move was even on. His mishit cross was promptly shinned into his own net by Mats Hummels, who was perhaps still wondering how the ball had got there.

 

In many ways, it was a typical Pogba pass: it was incredible he even saw it but, once he had, of course he was going to try it. The Manchester United man is the king of the unanticipated, never shying away from the implausible, for whom the very idea of keeping it simple seems like an affront. At club level, it makes him a target for traditionalist critics; for France, he becomes the match-winner.

One of Deschamps' real triumphs has been to construct an imperious unit out of France's mighty individuals. They allowed Germany more than 60 per cent of the possession but conceded only one shot on target, their defensive cohesion summed up by Antoine Griezmann sprinting back to challenge Joshua Kimmich on the right wing shortly before injury time.

When the defence is this strong, and when N'Golo Kante is patrolling the middle, it gives Pogba the licence – the compulsion, even – to try the unexpected. It's why he rejected two simple passes to the left and drove away from his own box surrounded by three players, winning a free-kick that led to Adrien Rabiot hitting the post. It's why he found himself in the number 10 position 66 minutes in, another sublime square ball over the top finished stylishly by Kylian Mbappe but ruled out for offside. It's why Benzema's late tap-in was also disallowed, Mbappe having strayed beyond the last man because Pogba's attempt at an elaborate turn ended up delaying his own throughball.

Pogba attempted 52 passes in total, more than anyone else for France. He had 78 touches, more than anyone else for France. He contested 20 duels, five aerial duels, won four fouls and made three interceptions – all more than anyone else for France. He won back the ball 12 times and gave it away a further 22, both, naturally, the highest figures in the contest.

Matches at these tournaments are so often tactical, attritional battles, where the risky pass, the inspired finish can make all the difference. That's standard practice for Pogba, a player who reminds us there's no reason to fear falling when you live for flying.

Mats Hummels' Germany comeback was marred by an own goal as Euro 2020 favourites France started their campaign with a 1-0 victory in Munich.

Hummels, who scored the winner when Germany knocked France out of the 2014 World Cup, had been in international exile since 2018, yet his return hardly went to plan as he turned into Germany's net 20 minutes into the Group F encounter.

Joachim Low's side never seemed to settle against France's press, and were perhaps fortunate to see Antonio Rudiger go unpunished for a possible bite on Paul Pogba.

Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema had goals disallowed for offside, but Les Blues – who also hit the post through Adrien Rabiot – were not made to pay as they went unbeaten in a Euro opener for a ninth straight time.

A scrappy opening should have been punctuated by a France goal, yet Paul Pogba sent a free header over after meeting Antoine Griezmann's excellent corner.

Making his 100th start for Germany – the first goalkeeper in the nation's history to do so – Manuel Neuer had to parry Mbappe's strike as France purred.

France soon had their opener, however. Mbappe was well placed to finish from Lucas Hernandez's cross, but instead it was Hummels who sliced into his own net with Germany's defence caught cold by an exquisite Pogba pass.

Thomas Muller wasted an immediate chance to equalise, before Pogba seemed to complain Rudiger had bitten him, though the replays were inconclusive. 

France looked all set to double their lead early in the second half, only for Rabiot to hit the near post from close range after ignoring a simple pass to the waiting Griezmann.

Rabiot's chance kicked Germany into gear – Serge Gnabry's volley skidding off the turf and just over Hugo Lloris' crossbar.

A delayed offside flag denied Mbappe a spectacular solo strike in the 66th minute, before the Paris Saint-Germain star skipped beyond Hummels with ease.

To his credit, Hummels recovered with a last-ditch tackle, and though Benzema then had a goal on his major tournament comeback disallowed, three-time champions Germany failed to make their good fortune count.

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