MUNICH — Mats Hummels’ return to the national team went better for France than it did for Germany.
The experienced defender was recalled by Germany coach Joachim Löw for the European Championship for his leadership qualities, but he ended up scoring an own-goal Tuesday to give France a 1-0 victory at the European Championship.
Hummels was attempting to stop Lucas Hernández’s cross from reaching France forward Kylian Mbappé when he diverted the ball into his own net with his shin in the 20th minute.
Both teams had chances to score. İlkay Gündoğan wasted Germany’s best opportunity of the first half when he couldn’t direct his shot on target.
France twice put the ball in the net in the second half but both were called back for offside. Mbappé sent a curling shot inside the far post midway through the half and then set up Karim Benzema for another late in the match.
Benzema was playing in his first competitive game for France since a World Cup quarterfinal loss to Germany in 2014.
Mbappé also had a penalty appeal waved off in between the offside goals — Hummels had timed his tackle perfectly when the 22-year-old Frenchman would have been through on goal.
Germany had never previously lost an opening game in the group stage at the European Championship.
Löw started with the same lineup from the 7-1 rout of Latvia in Germany’s final warm-up game, but his team had no answer to Paul Pogba, who disrupted the team's buildup play.
Pogba also provided incisive passes for France’s fearsome forward trio of Mbappé, Benzema and Antoine Griezmann.
While Germany pushed hard in the second half, France always looked the likelier to score.
Löw, who is stepping down after the tournament, sent on forwards Leroy Sané and Timo Werner late in the match, and then Kevin Volland as a last resort, but none could make a difference.
Germany’s next coach, Hansi Flick, was among some 14,000 spectators in attendance.
Before the match started, a Greenpeace protestor parachuted into the stadium.
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Ciarán Fahey, The Associated Press