Germany v France, Thurs 7th July
Stade Velodrome, Marseille - 8pm
On Thursday evening in Marseilles, the hosts France meet Germany in the second Euro 2016 semi final for the chance to book their place in Sunday’s final.
German boss Joachim Löw is facing a fairly hefty selection headache ahead of this match with 4 key members of his squad likely to be absent. Definitely missing will be the suspended Mats Hummels and the injured Mario Gomez and Sami Khedira, both of who have been ruled out for the remainder of the tournament. Possibly also missing through injury will be the Manchester United midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger who picked up a knock in the closing stages of the match against Italy.
Germany have kept the most clean sheets of any side at Euro 2016 – 4 in their 5 games, and they’re still yet to concede from open play. The only goal they have conceded was Leonardo Bonucci’s late equaliser for Italy in the quarter finals. Whilst they have looked extremely solid defensively, in attack they are yet to hit the heights we saw on their way to winning the World Cup in 2014. Hit man Thomas Muller is still without a goal at the Championships, and without Mario Gomez upfront for this one, they may find goals hard to come by once more.
France haven’t beaten Germany in tournament football since 1958, however they did win the most recent friendly encounter between the two sides 2-0 at the Stade de France in November. Didier Deschamps men will be looking to take advantage of the depleted German side, and in Antoine Griezmann they have the tournament’s most potent performer to date. He’ll be looking to add to the 4 goals and 2 assists he’s already provided in Euro 2016.
Unlike Germany, France are back to full strength for this match. Adil Rami and N’Golo Kanté both missed the win against Iceland due to suspensions picked up in France’s earlier matches, but having served their time they’re now available for selection once again.
France haven’t lost a match on home soil in 17 matches in tournament football , and they’ll be hoping to make Germany their 18th scalp on Thursday. The rejuvenated Olivier Giroud put in a near-perfect performance against Iceland in the quarter final and he has scored in both of his previous appearances against Germany. He’s to score anytime in this one.
Even though France have looked slightly rocky at times in defence, having Adil Rami and Laurent Koscielny reunited for this game is a massive boost for Didier Deschamps. The Germans could find it hard to break them down without their familiar midfield options, and at the other end Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezmann have formed a formidable partnership which looks capable of scoring against anyone.
This is France’s best chance to put an end to a long losing run in tournament football against the Germans, and I expect them to take it. It won’t be easy – it never is against Germany, but in Dmitri Payet, Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezmann I feel that France have the firepower to nick this game by a goal.
- France to win to nil @
- France to win by exactly one goal @
- Giroud to score first and France to win @
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