World Football - Germany net long overdue win against France

International friendly, Stade de France – France 1 (Valbuena 44) Germany 2 (Mueller 51, Khedira 74)

Germany recorded their first win over France since 1987 as Joechim Loew’s side came from a goal behind at half time thanks to goals from Thomas Mueller and Sami Khedira.

A fourth international goal from the excellent Mathieu Valbuena right on half time gave the home side the advantage in an evenly-contested opening half but the greater experience of the German side began to tell as Mueller latched onto Ilkay Gundogan’s excellent through ball to level before Khedira latched onto Real Madrid team-mate Mesut Ozil’s ball for the winner.

The match, attended by respective heads of state Francois Hollande and Angela Merkel, started after a ceremony to mark 50 years of the Elysees agreement between the two countries. But despite the cordial atmosphere in the Stade de France, games between these two great rivals are always lively affairs and it began at a terrific pace, both teams creating early chances the first of which fell to the home side.

A great run and cross by Bacary Sagna down the right wing was met first time by Moussa Sissoko, only for the midfielder to miscue a tough chance. Moments later, France attacked down the opposite flank through Patrice Evra, Mats Hummels doing just enough to put Karim Benzema off his shot from the resulting cross.

Straight up at the other end, Germany should have gone ahead. Mueller’s delightful through ball put Mesut Ozil clear through on goal but Hugo Lloris was out in a flash to deny the Madrid midfielder with an outstretched left boot.

Five minutes later and Ozil turned provider as Germany again went close to taking the lead, Lloris again needing to be at his best to tip Per Mertesacker’s header onto the bar. Despite the Germans edging possession and territory, France always looked dangerous on the break with their lightning pace. A glorious pass from the increasingly influential Valbuena set Benzema through on goal but his shot did not match his run, the Madrid striker blasting his shot straight at keeper Rene Adler.

Just when it looked like the visitors would end the half on top, France hit them with a goal slightly against the run of play. Khedira fouled Blaise Matuidi outside the box and from the resultant free kick, Benzema’s shot cannoned off the bar and into the path of Valbuena who nodded home his fourth international goal.

Didier Deschamps rang the changes at the break, bringing on Etienne Capoue and Adil Rami but the move backfired within five minutes as Capoue sloppily conceded possession outside his own box, giving the ball to Gundogan who played in Mueller to fire home.

Germany began to turn the screw and looked for a killer third, Lloris again saving well from the feet of Mueller from Benedikt Howedes’ through ball.

Shocked into action, France upped the anti themselves and enjoyed their best spell of possession of the match. Adler dallied on a dangerous whipped Evra cross allowing Benzema across the front of him. Any contact would have done but the striker just failed to get his boot to the ball. Valbuena continued to create chances, exchanging passes with Benzema before curling his shot over the corner.

But the most dangerous player on the pitch was unquestionably Franck Ribery, who tormented the German defence with regularity with his blistering pace, neat footwork and dangerous crosses. The only thing lacking was the finish. He should have converted Benzema’s cross with 20 minutes remaining but instead planted the wrong side of Adler’s post.

Benzema again went close following more good work from Ribery but just as the hosts were beginning to get on top, Germany got their second. A cracking pass from Ozil cut the French defence to ribbons and Khedira was on hand to slip the ball past Lloris with the outside of his boot for his third international goal.

France pressed for a late equaliser, Ribery evading Philipp Lahm before blasting his shot straight at Adler before setting up Benzema for what looked bound to be a late, late equaliser. But a brilliant last gasp tackle from Hummels ended 26 years of hurt.

PLAYER RATINGS

FRANCE: Lloris 7, Sagna 7, Koscielny 6, Sakho 6, Evra 6, Matuidi 6, Valbuena 7, Cabaye 6, Sissoko 6, Ribery 8, Benzema 7

Subs: Giroud 6, Capoue 6, Rami 6, Menez 6.

GERMANY: Adler 6, Lahm 6, Mertesacker 6, Hummels 6, Howedes 7, Gundogan 6, Ozil 7, Khedira 7, Mueller 7, Podolski 6, Gomez 5.

Subs : Kroos 6, Bender 6, Schurrle 6.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Franck Ribery – France: Tormented Germany with his pace, probing runs and dangerous crosses. Worked many goal scoring opportunities and all that was lacking was the finish. Unlucky to be on the losing side.

MATCHCAST: FULL COMMENTARY AND STATS