Five things punters can learn from 2014 World Cup quarters as France and Germany go again
Holly Thackeray | July 7, 2016
On Thursday for the second Euro 2016 semi-final showdown, hosts France meet familiar foes and noisy neighbours Germany in Marseille to grapple for a space in the showpiece finale on home soil.
Last time there was a liaison between these pair of European super powers, Die Mannschaft defeated Les Bleus 1-0 in a diligent and determined duel at the quarter-finals of the 2014 World Cup.
Joachim Low’s lads eventually went on to win the coveted cup as the French left a big stage frustrated yet again, having lost their status as the continent’s golden guys and forced to look on as their regional rivals lifted the title.
One major tournament later and the twosome are primed to tussle again, with France surely fed up of playing second fiddle. So, Coral round up five things punters can learn from that past 2014 World Cup tumble when preparing to place their bets.
Deschamps’ men vulnerable in defence
Of course in South America, Germany proved to have the best backline on the occasion. The winning goal came from centre back Mats Hummels, who kept a tight ship at his own end while leaping highest to send his nation to the semis.
Now Bayern Munich man Hummels made the most of his build and experience to rise above and out-muscle Real Madrid’s younger Raphael Varane, and headed home from a set-piece.
It could be more of the same this time around, as stand-in for Hummels Shkodran Mustafi is another defender to have exploited a similar situation to head home for victory versus Ukraine in the Euro group stages. While, fellow centre back Jerome Boateng (12/1 for another anytime) also bagged from a cleared corner against Slovakia, illustrating this set-piece threat is ever present. Germany are 10/11 to nab the first corner in 90 mins.
France’s defensive depletion, missing the likes of Varane, Aymeric Laporte, Kurt Zouma and Jeremy Mathieu, is well known and something Low should seek to exploit with the French conceding in all but two of their games so far.
After all, Die Mannschaft managed to dent Italy’s much lauded resolved rearguard, but themselves have managed to concede just one goal all tournament.
So, customers can back the remarkable clean sheet run to continue at 7/2 for Germany to win to nil in 90 mins (max stake £20).
Die Mannscaft decisive, France later to the party
After defeat to Die Mannscaft, Ukraine coach Mykhailo Formenko said of Germany: “A machine is a machine.”
Having seen Low and co somehow contrive to oust the Italians on spot-kicks, having gone through the motions grinding out results in their group, the Germans are 15/8 to find a way through and win in normal time.
Noticeably quicker out of the blocks than the French back in that Brazil bust-up, the first goal arrived then with just 12 minutes of play on the clock.
So far in these finals, it is a trend that has continued with Die Mannschaft delivering the first blow in all their games so far, and three of those four openers were scored within half-an-hour. So, just like in their last major tournament meeting, opt for the first German goal to be struck within 11-20 minutes at 9/1.
France, by comparison, have been slow starters with even left back Patrice Evra saying: “We’re snatching wins late in the game every time… We have to wake up earlier in games. We’re not starting matches well enough and end up having to react.”
Les Bleus appeared to have remedied that last time out against Iceland, but they did not react back in Brazil. There are odds of 12/1 for the first French goal to come between 81-90 minutes, but will that be too late?
Les Blues are a different beast
France are not the same team that failed to truly threaten Germany in their Brazil battle. It’s been a slow process, but the emergence of two surprise components in Dimitri Payet and N’Golo Kante, as well as the continued progress of Antoine Griezmann and Paul Pogba, means this match should have a different complexion.
Les Bleus number one Hugo Lloris stated on that point: “There are always lessons to be learned from defeats, as there are victories.
“It’s not just the quarter-final defeat that allowed us to grow, it was the World Cup in general but we came up against a better side on the day, a more experienced team at the time and they succeeded,” the Spurs stopper continued.
“But I think our team has grown, we’ve acquired experience, the players that were involved have stepped up at their clubs and have become more important in the France team.”
With more mental strength displayed having fought back to beat Republic of Ireland, France are 2/1 to see the match go to extra-time.
It is going to be tight
Including the 2014 World Cup, three of the past four meetings between France and Germany have been won by a one goal margin.
So, take your picks from punts on either the French (3/1) or Germans (10/3) to emerge victorious by exactly one strike again in normal time at the Stade Velodrome.
Back in Brazil, a series of close misses or great saves for both sides occurred. So the markets on main men Thomas Muller and Griezmann may be of interest.
Griezmann memorably hit the bar with a penalty in the recent Champions League final for Atletico Madrid, while Muller has struck the woodwork several times in this tournament so far, making the pair intriguing punts at 7/1 and 10/1 respectively to fall foul of the posts again.
A playmaker in their prime can be the difference
Finally, if customers cast their minds back to the World Cup quarters clash, it was playmakers that did or did not make the difference on the day rather than the strike forces of both sides.
Hummels was able to head home thanks to a curling free-kick delivery from passmaster Toni Kroos. Germany are still much the same with Kroos and Mesut Ozil dictating the play. Yet, France are much changed in attacking midfield thanks to Payet.
The West Ham United man has been integral so far in a way Mathieu Valbuena was not, contributing three goals and two assists. Just as able to thread the toughest chances or convert as his German counterparts, Payet is 2/1 to find the net anytime.