Mario Gomez is amongst the goals as Germany see off Israel and return to winning ways. Franck Ribery helps France to a 2-0 home win over Serbia as the hosts ring the changes and trial a 4-3-3, while Kyriakos Papadopoulos gets the only goal of the game as Greece chalk up a narrow win in Armenia:
France 2 Serbia 0
Laurent Blanc rolled out a 4-3-3 formation for France’s 2-0 win over Serbia last night, with only two players – Karim Benzema and Philippe Mexes – keeping the same position from Sunday’s win over Iceland. There were plenty changes to the backline, with Laurent Koscielny, Gael Clichy and Anthony Reveillere all handed starts, though Blanc’s midfield plans were disrupted after just four minutes as Yann M’Vila limped off with a worrying ankle injury. Franck Ribery opened the scoring after 10 minutes, netting after the opposition keeper had spilled Clichy’s cross, before Florent Malouda fired home the second from the edge of the area just six minutes later as Les Bleus extended their unbeaten run to 20 matches. Post-match, Blanc was reported to have said M’Vila has “a big ankle sprain” but didn’t expect the player to miss the tournament – further tests are expected today.
France Starting XI: Lloris; Reveillere, Koscielny, Mexes (Rami 72), Clichy; Cabaye (Martin 61), M’Vila (Diarra 5), Malouda (Ben Arfa 76); Nasri, Benzema (Giroud 61), Ribery (Menez 61).
Armenia 0 Greece 1
Greece recorded their first clean sheet in six games as they clinched a 1-0 win in Armenia. Fantasy managers will be frustrated with a change in keeper, as Michail Sifakis replaced Konstantinos Chalkias between the posts. Sokratis Papastathopoulos started at right-back with Vasileios Torosidis afforded the night off after picking up an injury at the weekend – this allowed Schalke man Kyriakos Papadopoulos to return to centre-half and he offered further evidence of his attacking potential by grabbing the only goal of the game. Priced at 4.5, Papadopoulos is one of the most popular players in the McDonald’s game and currently has over 16% ownership, though this will no doubt increase after last night’s display. Sotiris Ninis failed to shake off an injury, allowing Kostas Fortounis to make his first start for the national team in a night where Fernando Santos’ side failed to make the scoreline more substantial by missing two second half spot-kicks; Georgios Samaras (70) and Kostas Katsouranis (86) were the culprits.
Greece Starting XI: Sifakis; Papastathopoulos (Makos 62), A. Papadopoulos, K. Papadopoulos, Holebas (Tzavellas 60); Katsouranis, Maniatis, Karagounis (Fotakis 46); Fortounis (Samaras 46), Gekas (Ioannnis 62), Salpingidis (Mitroglou 85).
Germany 2 Israel 0
With seven of their Bayern contingent back on board, Germany bounced back from their weekend 5-3 defeat by Switzerland to see off Israel 2-0. Joachim Low made a host of changes, as Toni Kroos partnered Sami Khedira in the double pivot due to Bastian Schweinsteiger’s injury, while Mario Gomez was given the nod ahead of Miroslav Klose up front – Gomez justified his selection by opening the scoring five minutes before the break, with Thomas Muller providing the assist. Low made five changes later in the second half, with Mesut Ozil the only attacking player to be afforded the full 90 minutes, as Andre Schurrle – on as a sub for Lukas Podolski – firing home a superb second.
Germany Starting XI: Neuer; Boateng, Badstuber, Mertesacker, Lahm; Kroos (Gotze 86), Khedira (Bender 88); Muller (83), Ozil, Podolski (Schurrle 66); Gomez (Klose 66).