CAN a ‘group of death’ really be described as such there if there is a lifeline at the end of it? Traditionally, a section containing France, Germany and Portugal would be fraught with peril for one of the continent’s big guns, but even though this heavyweight encounter packed plenty of punch, a defeat for Germany is unlikely to be a knockout blow.

With third place in the group likely to provide a route into the next phase of the competition, it will almost certainly be Hungary who are the only side from Group F to fall through the trapdoor.

It was an own goal from Mats Hummels that settled this early sparring session between two pre-tournament favourites in Munich, and while the tie lacked the sort of quality you might expect from the storied names on show, there was enough bite about the contest.

And not just from Antonio Rudiger, with the Chelsea defender appearing to come over all Luis Suarez on Paul Pogba in a bizarre incident during the first half. Despite the presence of VAR, his nibble on Pogba's back went unpunished.

It was in the midfield that France really bared their teeth though, where a big-game performance from Pogba and an outstanding showing from the omnipotent N’Golo Kante overshadowing anything produced by the sensational attacking talent on either side.

With German coach Joachim Low going with his newly preferred back three formation, there appeared to be space down the flanks early on for the likes of Kylian Mbappe to exploit with his pace, and the French speedster would have been licking his lips as right-back Joshua Kimmich picked up a daft early booking.

The best chance of the early stages came from a set-piece though, with a dangerous Antoine Griezmann corner finding Pogba with the freedom of the penalty area, only for the Manchester United man to head the ball off his shoulder and fly over.

Mbappe then cut inside and fired his first warning shot across Manuel Neuer’s bows, the German captain proving equal to the task.

The French were starting to look dangerous, but when the Germans were breached 20 minutes in, it was a self-inflicted wound.

There was plenty to like about the build-up, with Pogba’s lovely switch with the outside of his right boot picking out Lucas Hernandez as he powered down the left. The full-back hammered the ball across the six-yard box, and Hummels got his body shape all wrong as he shinned the ball into the roof of his own net.

Germany could find no immediate response, and indeed, they almost fell further behind at the start of the second half as Adrien Rabiot sprinted clear and slammed a shot off the outside of Neuer’s near post, having ignored the run of the livid Griezmann in the centre.

Finally, the hosts bit back, as one of their wing-backs at last found a decent delivery. Rudi Gosens swung a deep ball in from the left where Serge Gnabry was lurking, with the forward scuffing his shot into the turf, over Hugo Lloris and just over the crossbar.

Suddenly, there was a bit of life about the Germans, with the French retreating deep into their own territory. They always knew though they had the pace of Mbappe to get them out, and the Paris Saint Germain superstar produced a moment of magic as he sprang away on the counter, bamboozling two German defenders before cutting inside and curling the ball into the net via the far post. Alas, the almost apologetic assistant referee sheepishly raised his flag and the moment was lost to an offside.

Low threw on Leroy Sane and Timo Werner as he tried to give the reduced-capacity Allianz Arena something to cheer, but the formidable French centre-back pairing of Pascal Kimpembe and Raphael Varane were the equal of anything that the German attack could throw at them.

Mbappe then gave Hummels a 10 yard start in a foot race and powered through to get on the end of the ball, with the experienced German appearing to be running through treacle as the whippet-like Frenchman hared past him. A desperate lunge from Hummels paid off though, the defender getting enough on the ball even while coming through the back of Mbappe to convince the referee his challenge was fair enough.

The French sprung again, with Pogba playing Mbappe in behind and his square ball giving Karim Benzema a tap in, but the Real Madrid forward was denied as Mbappe was adjudged to be offside after a VAR review. Didier Deschamps’ men had done enough though.

It is too early in the competition to say whether this enjoyable encounter tells us anything new about the European Championship-winning credentials of these sides, but the French will take confidence from a strong defensive showing to back up their glittering array of attacking talent.

And as for the Germans, there was plenty of bark, but in-keeping with the dopey Rudiger, only a little bite.