Hummels was recalled for this tournament after being told by coach Joachim Low in 2019 that his international career was over. He diverted Lucas Hernandez’s cross into his own net in the first half in what was a fascinating contest in Munich at Euro 2020.
France were marginally the better of the two sides but appeared to be far from their best.
Paul Pogba sent the ball over the bar from a corner with his shoulder. Kylian Mbappe had an angled shot saved. Mbappe and Karim Benzema had goals ruled out for offside and Adrian Rabiot hit the outside of the post.
Germany came into the finals with big questions over their best XI. Many questioned their chances of success after a poor run since their failure at the 2018 FIFA World Cup as well. However, they proved why they are one of the powerhouses in world football with a decent performance against the world champions.
Thomas Muller was another player recalled by Low. He headed wide, with Ilkay Gundogan slicing an effort past the post from a good position in the box. Serge Gnabry saw a shot deflected onto the roof of the net that was inches from going in.
It was not just the actual football that was making the headlines in the game either. Germany defender Antonio Rudiger appeared to have nibbled on the shoulder of Pogba in the first half. However, replays proved inconclusive.
This came after a Greenpeace protestor had parachuted into the stadium. He crashed to the pitch before being removed by security.
Germany need a result against Portugal
France’s win means they and Portugal, who beat Hungary 3-0 in Budapest earlier on Tuesday, take the early initiative in a highly competitive Group F.
Regardless of the outcome, Euro 2020 will be Low’s final hurrah as Germany boss. Hansi Flick is ready to succeed him after the tournament.
This is arguably the weakest German side he has taken into a major tournament. He led his nation at seven major tournaments. The coach is still seemingly unsure as to his best XI or even best formation.
However, they still retain quality in the side, most notably in defender Joshua Kimmich and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. They also have experience now thanks to Low’s decision to recall Hummels and Muller.
It was not the calamity some feared but it was still a first-ever opening-match defeat for the Germans at a European Championship finals.
France take on Hungary in their next game on Saturday. Germany face defending champions Portugal next, on the same day at Euro 2020 in Group F – this edition’s Group of Death.