Euro 2016 semi-finals: Gritty Germany stand in way of home final outing for France
Lee Gormley | July 5, 2016
Germany v France
- Euro 2016 semi-final
- Thursday, July 7th
- Kick-off: 20:00 BST
- Stade Velodrome, Marseille
- Live on BBC One
Germany and France collide in Marseille
After overcoming Italy on penalties, Germany faces host nation France in the second Euro 2016 semi-final at the Stade Velodrome on Thursday, with Les Bleus in need of a first competitive fixture win since 1958 in order to book a final spot on home soil.
The hosts made light work of the tournament’s surprise package Iceland last time out in their quarter-final meeting, earning a comfortable 5-2 victory, while Joachim Low’s Germans had to edge out the defiant Italians a penalty shootout.
Their last meeting at the Stade de France in November last year was overshadowed by tragic events in the country, but it was Didier Deschamps’ side that prevailed 2-0 in the friendly encounter, while Die Mannschaft were victorious before that at the 2014 World Cup quarters stage.
France are without a competitive win over the Germans in 48 years, but the current crop are 9/5 with Coral to end that run with success in normal time, while Low’s men are 15/8 favourites to progress with victory within 90 minutes.
Big absences for Germany
Due to the widely slammed suspension rules in this summer’s finals, Low will be without key defender Mats Hummels for this semi-final clash, while frontman Mario Gomez is out of the tournament through injury and both midfielders Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira are major doubts with knocks.
Deschamps is set to welcome back duo Adil Rami and N’Golo Kante after they returned from bans, having sat out the 5-2 win over Iceland, with Laurent Koscielny and Olivier Giroud being substituted early in that game as both are one booking away from suspension.
German boss Low has expressed his sadness for Gomez, who was enjoying a solid campaign on French soil, but is confident of finding a new solution, which may mean Mario Gotze or Thomas Muller deputising as a lone frontman.
“I am especially sorry for Mario. He put in some good performances at these Euros and has helped the team, not only with his goals,” said Die Mannschaft’s manager. “For us, it means we have to accept the new situation and find solutions, which we will do.
“The quality of the team is high and I have full trust in all the players – we’ll be ready on Thursday and we’re looking forward to the semi-finals.”
Plenty of attacking quality on show
With Gomez now out of action, Bayern Munich attacker Gotze may regain his place as a false nine, and he is 11/4 to get on the scoresheet anytime in normal time, while clubmate Muller is 5/1 to dispatch and Germany win in 90 minutes (£20 max stake).
The latter Munich poacher is still without a European Championship finals goal in his otherwise rampant career, but this French clash is the perfect place to start, with former Arsenal attacker Lukas Podolski also 11/4 to find the target.
His former teammate in London, Mesut Ozil, was menacing throughout the Italian match-up but failed to tuck in his spot-kick in the eventual shoot-out. The Gunners playmaker is 10/3 to add to his goal just after the hour mark against Antonio Conte’s Azzurri last time out.
Meanwhile, midfield stars Julian Draxler (7/2 anytime), Toni Kroos (11/2) and Leroy Sane (10/3) will all seek to have an impact on proceedings too.
Les Bleus battling for home supremacy
For the French, Arsenal frontman Giroud is 6/4 to net in normal time and add to his brace against Iceland, while Golden Boot contender Antoine Griezmann is 6/1 to open proceedings in his latest appearance and West Ham United ace Dimitri Payet is 2/1 to strike.
Juventus star Paul Pogba finally got off the mark at the tournament against Iceland and the reported Manchester United target is 7/2 to grab another anytime against Germany, with widemen Anthony Martial and Kingsley Coman 11/4 and 10/3 respectively to fire in.
With there having been a host of games being taken to extra-time and penalties so far this summer, odds of 9/2 can be had on this latest meeting going to spot-kicks (£20 max), while another stalemate after 90 minutes is 2/1 to occur.
The last time Germany met tournament hosts they battered Brazil 7-1 at the 2014 World Cup, and they are 8/1 to bag three or more goals this time around, while hopeful hosts France enter at 5/1 to triumph and both nations score.