UEFA Euro 2020

France vs Germany: European Championship classic combined XI

Jamie Spencer
Of course Zizou makes the team
Of course Zizou makes the team / Claudio Villa/Getty Images

France vs Germany is one of the biggest games in international football between the best and most historically successful national teams on the planet, with both countries winning the World Cup and European Championship multiple times.

Their clash in Group F at Euro 2020 is one the standout fixtures of the tournament.

Picking players who have made an impact at previous European Championships, here’s a combined France and Germany classic XI.

1. Sepp Maier (GK)

Sepp Maier was a Euro champion in 1972
Sepp Maier was a Euro champion in 1972 / Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Euro tournaments: 1972, 1976

Sepp Maier was the best goalkeeper in the world in the 1970s, winning the World Cup soon after he was part of the West German side that emerged victorious at the 1972 European Championship. That same decade he also won three successive European Cups with Bayern Munich.

2. Lilian Thuram (RB)

Lilian Thuram
Lilian Thuram went to four Euro tournaments with France / Graham Chadwick/Getty Images

Euro tournaments: 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008

European Championship tournaments effectively bookended Lilian Thuram’s illustrious international career. He was a rising defensive star in a developing France team at Euro ’96, went on to lift the trophy in 2000, while 2008 saw him become the first player to reach 15 appearances.

3. Franz Beckenbauer (CB)

Franz Beckenbauer was Germany's Euro & World Cup winning captain
Franz Beckenbauer was Germany's Euro & World Cup winning captain / Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

Euro tournaments: 1972, 1976

Franz Beckenbauer became the first captain in history to lift both the European Championship trophy and the World Cup trophy, with West Germany also the first nation to hold both titles simultaneously when they won in 1972 and 1974 respectively.

4. Matthias Sammer (CB)

Matthias Sammer, Andreas Kopke
Matthias Sammer won the Ballon d'Or in 1996 / Stu Forster/Getty Images

Euro tournaments: 1992, 1996

Matthias Sammer was the defensive foundation on which Germany’s Euro ’96 triumph was built and he became the first defender in 20 years since fellow countryman Franz Beckenbauer to win the Ballon d’Or in recognition of that success.

5. Bixente Lizarazu (LB)

Bixente Lizarazu
Bixente Lizarazu was a starter at three Euro tournaments / Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Euro tournaments: 1996, 2000, 2004

Euro '96 was a breakthrough for Bixente Lizarazu, establishing himself as a starter for France and going on to perform a key role for the golden side that then conquered the world in 1998 and later Europe in 2000. He was still a starter at Euro 2004.

6. Zinedine Zidane (CM)

Zinedine Zidane
Zinedine Zidane was the best player in the world in 2000 / Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Euro tournaments: 1996, 2000, 2004

Zinedine Zidane was the best player in the world when France won Euro 2000. His highlight reel from that tournament alone is utterly sublime and he was named player of the tournament as a result. Zizou also landed his second FIFA World Player of the Year award soon after.

7. Lothar Matthaus (CM)

Lothar Matthaus
Lothar Matthaus played his last Euros 20 years after his first / Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Euro tournaments: 1980, 1984, 1988, 2000

Lothar Matthaus was a junior member of West Germany’s victorious Euro winning squad in 1980 and went on to play at tournaments in 1984 and 1988. Injury ruled him out of Euro ’92 at his peak, while a feud with Jurgen Klinsmann cost him a place in 1996, but he was back at Euro 2000 aged 39.

8. Michel Platini (AM)

Michel Platini
Michel Platini scored nine goals in 1984 / PHILIPPE BOUCHON/Getty Images

Euro tournaments: 1984

Michel Platini won three consecutive Ballon d’Or awards in the mid-1980s and inspired France to their first ever major tournament triumph in 1984. Platini’s nine goals in that competition, his only time at the Euros as a player, is still a record in a single tournament.

9. Antoine Griezmann (RW)

Antoine Griezmann
Antoine Griezmann was player of the tournament at Euro 2016 / Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images

Euro tournaments: 2016, 2020

France didn’t win Euro 2016 on home soil, but Antoine Griezmann still took centre stage, finishing the tournament as both top scorer with six goals and best player. That was twice the number of goals of the next best scorers in the competition.

10. Gerd Muller (ST)

Gerd Muller
Gerd Muller scored four times for Germany in 1972 / Getty Images/Getty Images

Euro tournaments: 1972

Although better known for his incredible World Cup scoring feats, Gerd Muller also scored four of Germany’s five goals en route to glory at the 1972 European Championship finals. He was both the tournament’s top scorer and named in team of the tournament as well.

11. Thierry Henry (LW)

Thierry Henry
Thierry Henry won Euro 2000 with France / PATRICK KOVARIK/Getty Images

Euro tournaments: 2000, 2004, 2008

Thierry Henry scored six goals across the three European Championship tournaments he went to during an illustrious playing career, including three at Euro 2000 which France won. He was named French player of the year in 2000, despite Zidane getting the international acclaim.

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