Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan was whistled by a section of the Germany crowd as Uefa’s new Nations League debuted with a heavyweight stalemate in Munich.
Gundogan received both catcalls and applause when he came on to replace Leon Goretzka midway through the second half to reflect the current divided state of German football.
Gundogan and Mesut Ozil, both German internationals of Turkish origin, were heavily criticised for meeting with Turkey’s President Erdogan before the World Cup and Ozil has subsequently retired from international football claiming racial double standards from the governing DFB (German FA).
On the pitch, there were enough encouraging signs from Low in holding world champions France that Germany’s own World Cup disaster may be a blip rather than long-term crisis.
At a rainy Allianz Arena, French goalkeeper Alphonse Areola made outstanding stops to deny Timo Werner, Marco Reus and Mats Hummels as the home side won the contest on points.
France named the same World Cup Final team bar injured skipper Hugo Lloris with Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane wearing the armband.
As they often did in Russia, Didier Deschamps side were happy to sit back and soak up pressure, relying on the supercharged pace of Kylian Mbappe on the counter.
Mbappe – tipped to take over the mantle of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo one day – had one chance to shine before the interval but Manuel Neuer was equal to his well-struck free-kick.
In the second half he sprinted past the German backline but dragged his shot wide while Antoine Griezmann was denied by Manuel Neuer.
At the other end, Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud, the centre-forward who won the World Cup without scoring, missed with a header and a backheel while Germany didn’t seem to miss the creativity of Ozil.
Manchester City’s Leroy Sane – left out of Low’s World Cup squad and questioned by Toni Kroos this week for a lax attitude – had to watch on from the bench until the 83rd minute.
Germany will also point to a missed header by Hummels after Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger had flicked on a Toni Kroos corner to feel they should have won.
France’s Premier League trio of Paul Pogba, N’golo Kante and Giroud were relatively quiet but Les Bleus already have bragging rights for the next four years.