Teams placed in the Group of Death at any competition are usually the best of the best, and at Euro 2020 we’re about to witness several of the top nations in the world competing against one another.
Portugal and France are both riding major highs into the tournament after respective wins at Euro 2016 and World Cup 2018, but what about Germany?
The Germans have had a ton of success historically, but with manager Joachim Low on the brink of leaving his post with the national team after the Euros the squad is in a very difficult position.
The talent is absolutely there for Germany throughout the squad, despite Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s noted absences for this edition of the Euros.
Kai Havertz, Antonio Rudiger and Timo Werner are coming off a Champions League-winning campaign for Chelsea, while Joshua Kimmich, Serge Gnabry and Leon Goretzka boast a strong Bayern Munich contingent.
Talent isn’t the question when it comes to Germany at this stage of their national team, but instead the cohesion throughout the squad.
The Germans are just three months removed from a loss to North Macedonia in World Cup qualifying that magnified their issues, especially in the attacking end of the pitch.
In a match where Germany held nearly 70 percent possession in the North Macedonia half of the field, they still struggled mightily to get going when it mattered most. Werner missed a number of chances in front of goal despite being the national team’s clear No. 9 up front.
Defensively, Germany will need to be aligned throughout the back in order to contain potent attacks from Portugal and France, which feature Cristiano Ronaldo and Kylian Mbappe, as well as a host of other tremendous talents from around Europe’s top leagues.
Channeling their country’s previous success at the Euros will be vital for a team that has won the competition three times and only failed to advance out of the group stage on an additional three occasions.
Low’s track record of getting the best of his players is well documented, so giving him the benefit of the doubt during his final ride with Germany should probably be the route that German fans take, however, with expectations always significant for one of the best footballing nations in the world that’s easier said than done.
Germany kicks off Group F play against France, which will truly dictate how their group stage evolves. A win or draw puts the Germans in a fantastic position moving forward, while a loss could immediately have them thinking about one of the four third-place teams to advance to the next round.
Realistically there’s still no reason to think that the Germans won’t qualify for the knockout phase, but the question becomes, who do they face once they get there?
Outside of the top five teams in the competition — France, England, Portugal, Belgium and Italy — there’s no reason to believe that Germany cannot beat any of the remaining teams in the Round of 16. That’s if they’re not even playing up to their full potential.
The expectation should remain that Germany can reach a semifinal in this type of competition and give Low something positive to hang his hat on as he steps out of the limelight with the national team.