EURO 2016 Semi-Final Preview: Germany vs France

Stade Velodrome, Marseille

Les Blues are hoping to reach the final of the tournament with a victory over the 2014 World Cup winners.

Germany play France in the semi-final of Euro 2016 in Marseille on July 7 at 3:00PM ET.

The meeting in Marseille will be the first time the two sides have met in the European Championship where the host nation face a severely depleted Germany.

Germany reached the semi-finals with a penalty shootout win over rivals Italy. Jonas Hector slotted the winning penalty in an epic shoot-out as Germany overcame Italy for the first time in major tournaments to win a compelling Euro 2016 quarter-final.

Mesut Özil had broken the deadlock in the 65th minute only for Leonardo Bonucci to reply from the spot and help a stubborn Azzurri side take Germany into extra time at the Stade de Bordeaux. Penalties followed with each team ceding advantage back and forth. Simone Zaza, Graziano Pellè and Bonucci missed for Italy, Thomas Müller, Özil and Bastian Schweinsteiger for Germany.

Germany swept aside Slovakia to reach the quarter-final and got going with a goal from Jerome Boateng, his first in 63 international appearances. Mario Gomes extended their lead just before half time before Julian Draxler made it three on the hour mark. Despite being against inferior opposition, the humbling of Slovakia has been one of the best performances of the competition so far.

Boateng has starred for Germany in the tournament. That gives a small insight into how Die Mannschaft’s defense have performed, the only goal Germany have conceded at Euro 2016 was to Italy from the penalty spot. Boateng was the man of the match in the 0-0 against Poland and hung suspended in mid air to clear the ball from the line versus Ukraine in one of the moments of the tournament. However, for all his good work, the Bayern Munich defender did give away the penalty against Italy with an inexplicable handball.

In their opening game against Ukraine they strolled to a 2-0 win without particularly impressing. After breaking the deadlock inside 20 minutes through deputy center back Shkodran Mustafi, Bastian Schweinsteiger hopped off the bench to make a rare cameo to put the icing on the cake with the second goal.

In Group C’s final game Germany dominated Northern Ireland but could only manage a 1-0 victory due to the inspired performance of the Irish keeper Michael McGovern. The Ulstermen defended brilliantly but Mario Gomez was able to break the deadlock on 30 minutes.

In the quarter-finals France showed what a strong team can really do against Iceland. France scored five to bring a brutal end to the Iceland fairytale and there was almost a sense of disbelief around the Stade de France as the host nation walked off with a 4-0 advantage at the break.

Olivier Giroud’s low strike, Paul Pogba’s powerful header from a corner, a Dimitri Payet shot and a deft chip from Antoine Griezmann put the French firmly in control at the end of the first 45. In the second half Giroud added France’s fifth. The goals helped put French players in positions one, two and three for the tournaments golden boot.

Les Blues reached the last-8 with thanks to two goals from Antoine Griezmann in a comeback against Republic of Ireland. At the Stade de Lyon France were shocked to find themselves behind inside two minutes when Paul Pogba sent Shane Long to the ground for Robbie Brady to convert the penalty kick. However, the French rallied and the Atletico Madrid forward netted twice in quick succession on the hour mark to secure victory.

Excitement has followed the French campaign so far. France booked their place in the last sixteen with a last gasp win against Albania in Marseille. It took them until the 90th minute to break the red and black eagles’ resolve when Antoine Griezmann headed home form an Adel Rami cross. Player of the tournament Dimitri Payet rubbed salt into Albanian wounds with France’s second deep into stoppage time.

It was the second time in Euro 2016 that Didier Deschamps’ men have left the home nation’s fans with their hearts in their mouths. In the tournament’s curtain raiser against Romania they waited until the 90th minute to take a 2-1 lead, Payet was the scorer.

In their final group game a 0-0 versus Switzerland gave the host nation a day off from the heart attack inducing late flurries that have characterized their tournament. Only the odd Pogba thunderbolt went close for Didier Descahmp’s team, still a draw was enough to secure top spot in Group A.

France have met Germany a total of 27 times in history. France have won 12, Germany have won 10. There have been five draws.

The two sides have met at major tournaments on four occasions, most recently a 12th minute Mats Hummels goal sent Les Blues home in the 2014 World Cup quarter-final. On two other occasions, Germany defeated France 2-0 in the 1986 World Cup semi-final and on penalties after an enthralling 3-3 draw at the 1982 World Cup.

The only time France have beaten Germany at a major tournament was during the 1958 World cup 3rd placed-playoff. The score end 6-3 to Les Blues in Gotenburg where Jus Fontaine scored a hat-trick.

The last meaning between to sides took place amidst the grip of the November 2015 terror attacks in Paris. France defeated Germany 2-0 with goals from Andre-Pierre Gignac and Olivier Giroud but the score and the game itself felt meaningless on a night where a reported 130 people were killed.

Team News


The Germany players revel in Jonas Hector’s winning penalty agaisnt Italy.


Germany will enter the field in Marseille without some key personnel. Firstly, Mats Hummels is suspended after he picke dup his second yellow card of the tournament late in the game against Italy. It is fairly certain that Benedikt Howedes will deputize alongside Jerome Boateng, Joshua Kimmich and Jonas Hector.

Mario Gomes’ Euro 2016 adventure is reportedly over after he suffered torn muscle fibers in the win over Italy. He is likely to be replaced in the team by Mario Gomes. It is still unknown if that will be straight swap at center-forward or if Thomas Muller moves to striker and Gotze plays out wide. Germany’s fluid front line is also complimented b the fact Julian Draxler can also ply in the middle.

Schweinsteiger has suffered pulled ligaments while Sami Khedira experienced a recurrence of the thigh injury which once kept him off the pitch for a year while at Real Madrid. The pair are not yet confirmed to be out of the France game but it seems likely.

This poses a slight problem for Joachim Low’s team as the options for a replacement are limited only to Emre Can of Liverpool to partner Toni Kroos in an expected return to the 4-2-3-1 formation.

“It is very bitter to lose important players in the decisive stage of the tournament. I am especially sorry for Mario. He has performed very well at the EUROs and helped the team not only with his goals”, commented Germany coach Joachim Löw.

“For us this means accepting the new situation and having to find solutions. We will do so. The quality in the squad is high and I have full confidence in all players.”

Predicted Line-up: Neuer, Kimmich, Boateng, Howedes, Hector, Can, Kroos, Draxler, Ozil, Gotze, Muller. 




Olivier Giroud wheels away after netting France’s opener against Iceland.

Didier Deschamps has a fully fir squad to choose from and will be especially buoyed by the fact that both Adil Rami and N’Golo Kante return to the fore after each serving a one-game ban for collecting two yellow cards in the tournament.

France are expected to line up in the way they did in the opening game against Romania which is perceived to be their strongest team in a 4-2-3-1 formation. A front three of Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann and Dimitri Payet will be complimented by a midfield triangle of Blaise Matuidi, N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba.

“Look, Germany are Germany. They’re the reigning world champions and one of the best sides at the European Championship.

“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.

“We’re playing in France, our own country, and we’ll go all out for it. We have to remember anything is possible.” 

Predicted Line-up: Lloris, Sagna, Rami, Koscielny, Evra, Matuidi, Kante, Pogba, Griezmann, Payet, Giroud.


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