Soccer-Germany won't accept underdogs tag against France

·2 min read

MUNICH, Germany (Reuters) - Germany on Monday refused to accept the underdogs tag in their Euro 2020 Group F opener against world champions France on Tuesday, saying they were out to win the game and pay back fans for a disappointing World Cup campaign three years ago.

The Germans will play their group matches in Munich and captain Manuel Neuer said their shock 2018 World Cup first-round exit meant they had to make amends in front of a 14,000 home crowd.

"It is very important to start with a successful result," goalkeeper Neuer told a virtual news conference. "We know we owe the fans something after the last tournament. We hope to excite them with the way we will play and we need their support."

With 2014 world champions Thomas Mueller and Mats Hummels back in the squad after more than two years, Germany are going into the tournament with a largely untested team after an overhaul in 2019 was cut short by the COVID-10 pandemic and a string of bad results.

The three-times European champions are not among the title favourites this time, unlike France.

"We know France have been successful in the past years," Neuer said. "But we are still a very good team, uncomfortable to play against.

"We have respect for them but we don't see ourselves as the underdogs. We want to win the game here in Munich," he said.

Germany coach Joachim Loew, in his final tournament before stepping down after 15 years in charge, is set to include Leon Goretzka in his squad, with the midfielder having recovered from injury and having trained several times with the team.

Midfielder Jonas Hofmann is not expected to feature.

"Apart from Jonas, all players trained, including Leon. Leon has done four or five sessions with the team. He has left a very good impression and there seems to be nothing left from his injury," Loew said.

"What will be important tomorrow is to do what the team has showed in the past 14 days," he said. "That we are brimming with ambition and confidence, that we will go into the one-on-ones and we will throw everything into this game."

Germany also play European champions Portugal before taking on Hungary in their last group game.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Ed Osmond)

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