Hosts France take on world champions Germany in the second semifinals of the Euro 2016 on Thursday at Stade Velodrome, Marseilles. France have won the last two tournaments they have played on home soil.
Brief History of a classic Rivalry
France up against the Germans reflects a classic rivalry of modern soccer. The two teams clashed consecutively in two historic semifinals of the FIFA World Cup in 1982 & 1986 respectively. France under the leadership of their legendary star, Michael Platini earned the unofficial title- “Brazil of Europe” from the connoisseurs of the game in that phase. In a fairy-tale semifinals in 1982, the Germans thrived on penalties after the regulation time produced a thrilling 3-3 stalemate. Platini and his team-mates had to return home as tragic heroes after creating poetry on the pitch.
The Germans repeated their triumph in the semifinals in Mexico four years later against the same opponents. This time the four-time world champions won 2-0.
The reigning world champions also won the match-up two summers ago in the quarterfinals of the Brazil World Cup by a solitary goal. France will seek a sweet revenge in front of their home-crowd on Thursday.
The hosts need to break the jinx to beat the mighty Germans in a competitive match since 1958 to enter the finals.
France have won two major trophies on home turf. Platini’s team clinched glory in 1984 Euro Cup beating Spain 2-0 in the finals. Didier Deschamps, the reigning coach of the national team, led France to their maiden World Cup title in 1998.
“Look, Germany are Germany. They’re the reigning world champions and one of the best sides at the European Championship.” Revealed the French coach.
Kroos Vs Pogba: High voltage drama awaits at Marseille
German coach Joachim Löw has several injury concerns entering this semifinals. Striker Mario Gómez and defensive medio Sami Khedira are riddled by injuries, according to the Gurdian. Emre Can can start in the midfield to guard the footsteps of French midfield general Paul Pogba.
France’s hopes of notching up a winner rests on Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud and Dimitri Payet, who have netted 10 goals together so far. France blew Iceland 5-2 in the quarterfinals, but has not been really tested in this tournament.
Didier Deschamps, the French coach will depend on Pogba to control the game from midfield. The former world champion French skipper has to take a major decision ahead of the tie- whether to stick to the 4-2-3-1 formation or revert to 4-3-3 by fielding N’Golo Kante.
“They had a scare against Italy in the quarter-final but other than that, they’ve been in control of all the games they’ve played. But it won’t be a stroll in the park for them: we’ll go all out for it.” Pointed out Deschamps.
“We’re playing in France, our own country, and we’ll go all out for it. We have to remember anything is possible.”
David Trezeguet, the man who netted the golden goal to seal France’s title win in the 2000 edition of the championship, has predicted a 2-0 victory for the hosts.
Germany starting XI: Neuer, Kimmich, Boateng, Howedes, Hector, Can, Kroos, Draxler, Ozil, Gotze, Muller
France starting XI: Lloris, Sagna, Rami, Koscielny, Evra, Matuidi, Kante, Pogba, Griezmann, Giroud, Payet
Photo Courtesy: UEFA EURO 2016@UEFAEURO/ Twitter