An early own-goal helped France to victory in Munich in the group of death as the World Champions started their European Championship campagian with a win over Germany.
Germany were seldom able to test the backline of the French though. It is a damaging loss on the back of a disappointing World Cup showing. More questions will be laid at the feet of the departing Joachim Low.
France went with the attacking trio of Antoine Greizmann, the returning Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappe in a powerful looking line-up. The redemption of Mats Hummels and Thomas Muller continued as they were named in an experienced starting XI. Not so long ago, they were in the international wilderness.
It was a generally cagey opening period as both midfields buzzed around each other to deny any possible attacking platform being built up. Hummels rose to meet a floated free-kick from Toni Kroos. He was only able to put it over the bar though. An early booking for Joshua Kimmich was more of a reflection of the sharp tackling going on during this spell.
Slowly, France began to gain a foothold on the game. Pogba should have done better on a corner as he got above Antonio Rudiger, but only manged to meet the ball with his shoulder and send it over the top. Mbappe then forced Neuer into a sharp save with a low drive from just inside the area.
It was the PSG man who was at the heart of France going ahead. Pogba played a precise ball to the oncoming Lucas Hernandez out wide. He delivered a low cross into the area towards Mbappe. Hummels could not sort out his feet in the middle and was only able to bundle the ball into his own net.
Germany desperately tried to respond. Muller had a header that was comfortably held by Lloris and Kroos was unable to produce the goods with two free-kicks in decent positions. The best opportunity fell to Ilkay Gundogan who was found by Serge Gnabry on the left.
The pressure by Pogba ensured that the resulting effort went over. Kimmich was lucky to escape further censure as he seemed to catch Hernandez with a stray boot.
Germany did not have the instant impact they would have wished in the second-half. They still found the going tough in the middle of the park as Pogba and N’Golo Kante ruled the roost.
France could have gone further in front as Adrien Rabiot was found advancing to the left of the penalty area. The retreating Kimmich did enough to distract him into only managing to hit the outside of the post.
Gradually, the home side built up a head of steam. Gnabry should have got the equaliser from a floated cross to the back-post. He was only able to hit his shot into the ground and over the bar, however.
Moments later, Lloris was brave enough to come out quickly and claim the ball before the same player could reach it. Pavard took a knock for his bravery in challenging Robin Gosens as the ball was in the air.
Mbappe looked to have made it two as he was found to the left of the area. He twisted and turned his opponent looking to cut inside. He looked to have been held up but managed to find enough room to squeeze a gorgeous effort into the bottom corner. He was flagged offside though.
Not long after, it seemed he had escaped his marker to race clear on goal. Mats Hummels was just about able to stick out a foot to knock the ball away from him.
France had another goal disallowed as the game reached the final quarter. Pogba slid a pass through to Mbappe, who picked out Benzema to tap home. The celebrations were short-lived as both were shown to be offside.
Germany were struggling to make any headway. Sub Leroy Sane wasted a chance from a free-kick as Joachim Low tried in vain to shake things up. Rudiger also failed to test Lloris with a header late on. The French seemed content to play within themselves knowing their strength at the back. Raphael Varane and Presnel Kimpembe both proving to be an unscalable wall.
They were able to see the game out in relative ease in the end. A good start in a challenging group. They next play Hungary in Budapest on Saturday. Germany must get back on track against the reigning champions Portugal in Munich that evening.
France: Hugo Lloris (c); Presnel Kimpembe, Lucas Hernández, Benjamin Pavard, Raphael Varane; N'Golo Kanté, Paul Pogba, Adrien Rabiot (Ousmane Dembele 90); Antoine Griezmann, Karim Benzema (Corentin Tolisso 88), Kylian Mbappé.
Subs not used: Jules Koundé, Olivier Giroud, Lucas Digne, Kingsley Coman, Wissam Ben Yedder, Thomas Lemar, Clément Lenglet, Mike Maignan, Steve Mandanda, Kurt Zouma.
Germany: Manuel Neuer (c); Mats Hummels, Matthias Ginter (Emre Can 87), Antonio Rudiger; Joshua Kimmich, Kai Havertz (Leroy Sané 73), Ilkay Gundogan, Robin Gosens (Kevin Volland 87), Toni Kroos; Serge Gnabry (Timo Werner 73), Thomas Muller.
Subs not used: Robin Koch, Lukas Klostermann, Marcel Halstenberg, Christian Gunter, Bernd Leno, Florian Neuhaus, Niklas Sule, Kevin Trapp.
Booked: Joshua Kimmich (6) .
Referee: Carlos Del Cerro Grande (Spain)
extratime.com Player of the Match: Presnel Kimpembe (France)