Semi Final 2
Germany v France
Friday July 8, 5:00am
The World Champions versus the hosts and tournament favourites. It doesn’t get much bigger than events in Marseille this Thursday and whoever wins will be a massive favourite in Sunday’s final.
Germany missed their first penalties in a shootout since 1982 last weekend but Manuel Neuer lived up to his billing as the best keeper in the world to ensure they remained on target to add the continental crown to the global title already in their possession. Their progression didn’t come without a cost, however, as Mats Hummels will sit this one out as he serves a suspension, Mario Gomez picked up a tournament ending injury and both Sami Khedira and Bastian Schweinsteiger are rated as doubtful.
These teams met two years ago in Brazil at the quarter-final stage and there wasn’t much to separate the sides that day as a Hummels header was enough to decide matters. Eight of Germany’s last 10 tournament matches have had fewer than three goals so we’d expect another tight match again.
France produced their best performance of these Euros as they thrashed Iceland in the last round but this is a big step up from anything they’ve faced so far. Since Didier Deschamps took charge of France four years ago they’ve gone W6-D2-L5 against teams we had ranked in the top 10 and while that doesn’t tell us much their three competitive games had just four goals in total.
This is the 22nd match at a World or European Championships since 1970 where a team had won by at least three clear goals in the previous knockout round and the 21 teams to do so have a very poor record of W3-D8-L10.
That certainly highlights that we shouldn’t get carried away with one excellent performance against relatively weak opposition and the high percentage of draws stands out from that stat. At the last World Cup France followed a 5-2 win in the group stages with a 0-0 in their next game and a repeat wouldn’t be a huge surprise.
With Germany weakened following their quarter-final, and having struggled offensively without Gomez earlier in the tournament, we’d expect them to play relatively cautiously so the draw looks a great bet between two very evenly matched sides.
BACK – The Draw at 3.05