Geneva: Germany is out of contention for another international trophy after France handed Joachim Loew’s struggling team their latest loss on Tuesday.
The balance of power in European soccer is swinging even further away from the 2014 World Cup champion since its poor title defence in Russia.
World Cup winner France rallied for a 2-1 win in the Uefa Nations League against Germany, which fell to a fourth loss in their last six competitive games.
The result means Germany, eliminated in the World Cup group stage in Russia, cannot advance to the Final Four tournament in June for the Nations League top-tier group winners.
Germany wasted its first-half dominance at Stade de France, having led via a 14th-minute penalty from Toni Kroos.
Antoine Griezmann struck twice in the second half — a precisely guided header in the 62nd and a penalty in the 80th — to take France’s unbeaten streak to 15 games and extend its lead in Group 1 of League A.
Germany also risks an embarrassing relegation to the second-tier League B when they finish the group programme against the Netherlands on November 19.
“This is the difference between a team with a lot of confidence and a team like Germany which lacks some confidence and is maybe not as efficient,” France coach Didier Deschamps told reporters.
“There is nothing better for my team, my players, than this. The best vitamin is victory and tonight we had a difficult game and won against a difficult team.”
The Germans, with five changes to the team that lost 3-0 away to the Netherlands on Saturday, had their share of chances and overall looked sharper despite their sixth defeat of 2018.
Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry added much needed speed to Germany’s game and the overall performance offered coach Joachim Loew some respite after recent setbacks.
“We should not be disappointed tonight after such a performance,” said Loew, who has been under pressure since his side’s World Cup flop in June.
“We were on the same level with the world champions and we should have scored a second goal in the first half. But the French have a lot of quality and scored two goals from just a handful of chances.”
Elsewhere in the Nations League, Ukraine won promotion to League A by beating the Czech Republic 1-0 in Group 1 of the second tier.
Ukraine, coached by former star forward Andriy Shevchenko, also improved its chances of qualifying for the 2020 European Championship. Nations League group winners are assured of a place in the playoffs for the Euros, if they don’t qualify directly.
Uefa created the Nations League to replace most international friendly games, though Belgium’s schedule was free Tuesday to host the neighbouring Netherlands in a 1-1 draw in Brussels.
A third straight win for Ukraine ensured they became the first League B team promoted into the top tier for the next edition of the Nations League.
Ruslan Malinovskyi’s long-distance shot in the first half was enough to beat the Czechs in Kharkiv.
Wales now leads Group 4 in League B after beating Ireland 1-0 in Dublin through Harry Wilson’s second-half free kick. Wales hosts Denmark on November 16. In League C, Norway now leads Bulgaria in the four-team Group 4 after beating the Bulgarians 1-0 in Oslo. Slovenia staved off relegation by drawing 1-1 with Cyprus in a game featuring three red cards.
Georgia ensured promotion from League De with its fourth straight win, 3-0 at Latvia, ensuring it will win Group 1.