New GK stars as Germany, France end 0-0
Germany's bid for a fresh start after the debacle of their World Cup defence was frustrated by France goalkeeper Alphonse Areola as their UEFA Nations League opener finished 0-0 yesterday.
Areola, making his international debut in place of injured captain Hugo Lloris, produced a host of saves in the second half, but Germany will take encouragement after dominating all but a short period of the game.
Joachim Lowe's side was looking to atone for its first-round World Cup exit and made a cautious start against the new world champion.
Loew had indicated changes beforehand, yet he left his three new call-ups on the bench.
Timo Werner produced Germany's only effort of note in the first half, which was gathered easily by Areola. The Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper then showed fine reflexes despite the falling rain to deny Marco Reus, Mats Hummels, Thomas Mueller and Matthias Ginter after the break.
Germany might have picked an easier opponent with which to make a new start. Loew's side failed to beat France in their previous three meetings, while the last win was a nervy 1-0 in the 2014 World Cup quarter finals.
The Netherlands are with Germany and France in their Nations League group of three. The winners will go on to compete against the other group winners from League A for a four-team mini-tournament, the Nations League Finals, in June 2019. The bottom team in each group will be relegated to League B.
Other results: League B: Czech Republic 1 Ukraine 2; Wales 4 Ireland 1. League C: Norway 2 Cyprus 0; Slovebia 1 Bulgaris 2/ League D: Gibraltar 0 Macedonia 2; Latvia 0 Andorra 0.