German football legend Franz Roth believes France could be burdened by the pressure of a home crowd at Euro 2016 and backed Germany to go a long way in the tournament.
Roth, who only won four caps for his country but is one of Bayern Munich’s most decorated players, also tipped Belgium to impress and pointed to the potential for smaller nations to cause an upset.
Didier Deschamps’ France team are among the favourites to lift the Henri Delaunay Trophy given their home advantage, but Roth warned: “It can be a burden, too.
“It’s not always a bonus to play at home,” he told Omnisport. “Germany was perfect – 1974 [when West Germany hosted and won the World Cup] was a bonus and we became world champions. But this doesn’t have to be the case every time.
“With France it depends on how the players return home, as many of them play abroad, and how the manager forms the team. It is not easy to form a strong unit consisting of so many stars.
“It’s a team game, not an individual game. That’s where the manager comes in, to find the right formation.
“They will play a big role for sure. The euphoria is there and the fans will stand behind them and it could make the difference.”
Joachim Low’s Germany side will face Northern Ireland, Poland and Ukraine in Group C as they seek to build on their World Cup glory of 2014 with a triumphant European Championship campaign.
Roth was quick to point to the tournament’s less fancied sides, saying: “We [Germany] are amongst the favourites for sure. We have a broad and diverse group of players and we will play an important role in France. But there are teams who you can’t really predict very well.
“The Belgians ploughed through their group and nobody talks about Belgium, just as an example. Iceland have qualified and they have very good players.
“It is difficult. But I think we will play an important role in France and go very deep into the tournament.”