France beat Germany 1-0 in Munich as Group F got off to a wild start but the win will be overshadowed by Antonio Rudiger’s ‘nibble’ on Paul Pogba.
A Mats Hummels own goal in the opening period did the damage for Les Bleus in Munich.
The game, however good the action though, is set to have an altercation between Rudiger and Pogba as its talking point.
With France already ahead, Germany were frustrated and their Chelsea defender took things a little too far.
Battling with Manchester United ace Pogba, he moved his face down his opponent’s back before appearing to bite down.
The Frenchman seemed to cry out in pain and then spoke to officials but there was no intervention on the matter, even from VAR. UEFA, though, could look back on the incident.
In the early exchanges of the match, France barely saw the ball with the Germans pushing hard for an opener, while Joshua Kimmich earned himself a booking for a challenge on Bayern Munich teammate Lucas Hernandez.
Deschamps’ men wrestled their way back into the game and after 16 minutes Pogba shouldered a Griezmann corner over the bar and should have made better contact after beating his marker.
Not long after the Manchester United man had pounded the turf in frustration, Mbappe forced Manuel Neuer into a neat save.
And as they continued their resurgence they drew first blood in the battle of the juggernauts.
Some smart work on the right from a throw-in set Pogba free, his switch to Hernandez on the left was delightful and, with Mbappe lurking, Mats Hummels rifled the full-back’s cross into the back of his own net.
Germany looked to respond quickly but Thomas Muller was unable to get the connection he wanted on a header.
A Toni Kroos free-kick was then crashed into the wall, while Kimmich exuberantly appealed for a penalty but the ball had only hit N’Golo Kante’s chest.
Meanwhile, Ilkay Gundogan dragged a shot wide from 12 yards when he should have done better, especially considering his form in the Premier League this season.
It was a feisty match and Hernandez was doing all he could to try and get Kimmich a second yellow card with a dramatic reaction to an accidental kick to the head.
But the strangest moment came next with Rudiger appearing to bite Pogba’s back as the pair wrestled ahead of a throw-in.
Half-time allowed the sides to regain some composure but Les Bleus were again looking dangerous.
Juventus star Adrien Rabiot crashed a shot into the post, which he may have done better with but at the other end Gnabry then scuffed a strike wide.
Presnel Kimpembe stopped Kai Havertz from scoring with a vital interception as the Group F encounter remained breathless in Bavaria.
France then had a Mbappe strike ruled out for offside as they pushed for more goals with Pogba pulling the strings, not letting early events get into his head.
And not long after, Hummels redeemed himself with a superb recovering tackle on the Paris Saint-Germain speedster.
France had the ball in the back of the net again with six minutes to go but Karim Benzema’s strike, after another lovely ball from Pogba, who was exceptional throughout, to Mbappe was ruled out as the PSG ace had moved offside to receive it.
Six minutes of added time were awarded but Germany just couldn’t make it count as they lost on home soil.
But Rudiger and Pogba did at least hug and make up at the final whistle, the Man United star comforting his opponent.
With Portugal beating Hungary 3-0 in the other game in the group, Joachim Low’s side will now have to battle back in their final two fixtures.
But world champions France are now in a great position to qualify from the group, but know Cristiano Ronaldo’s men and the stubborn Hungarian won’t just roll over for them.
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