Though there were a few bumps in the road for these two prominent sides, both France and Germany are right where they expected to be a month ago when Euro 2016 began. France began the competition quite tentative, with their heralded offense looking stymied game after game. However, in their most recent fixture against Iceland in the quarter-finals, Les Bleus woke up and gave their home fans what they came to see – an offensive explosion. When the French are on, they can’t be beaten, hence why they were deemed tournament favourites. However this match against the equally mighty Germans may represent their stiffest test yet.
The battle-hardened Germans enter this game fresh off a roller-coaster ride of a penalty shootout last week vs. the Italians. Germany were the much better side throughout, but found it hard to put away the Azzurri. After penalties, the Germans prevailed and that might be the scare they needed in order to propel them into the next round. There was a lot of concern about the German back-line and leadership prior to the competition, but they’ve shown well and are certainly prepared for what easily could be a Finals match against the home nation in France. This should be an absolutely remarkable game, featuring likely the top two remaining teams in the semi-finals. Read on below for a full tactical analysis and a match prediction for Germany vs. France.
France vs. Germany Betting Odds:
Over 2 (-120)
Under 2 (+100)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
France vs. Germany Pick:
As the current betting odds from a day before kick-off would indicate, this match is expected to be, and frankly should be, incredibly close. There isn’t all that much separating these two talented sides. Though you like to poke holes in teams and exploit weaknesses, truth be told, there aren’t much of those in both of these squads. France has woken from their early tournament slumber, while the German defense has held tough against some formidable opposition. One thing is for certain however in this match, and that is that this game will be both of their toughest in this tournament – eventual Finals game included.
I believe these two squads are the highest quality teams remaining, and the winner of this game should have enough to go on and win the European Championships on Sunday evening. At the moment, the Germans sit as favourites to win the tournament for what would be their 4th time, though they do have some injury concerns to key players. It is believed that Germany will be without key striker and midfielder Mario Gomez and Sami Khedira. Both have lower-body injuries and both of their presences and experiences will be sorely missed. It is also believed that captain Bastian Schweinsteiger may sit out with a knee strain. Defenders Mats Hummels is suspended for the match. Without those four regulars, it’s going to create a bit of chaos in what will likely be quite the unfamiliar starting eleven for Germany. It will be interesting to see how they’ll respond, and if the French can take advantage.
Conversely for France, they’ll be getting back two key figures from suspension. Adil Rami and N’Golo Kante, two key ball winners, return to Les Bleus line-up. Look for the duo to be well-rested after missing the Iceland match, and ready to gain possession over a Germany side that is at its best when they’ve got the ball at their feet.
It is worth noting that the French haven’t beaten the Germans in a competitive match since 1958, but I think that all ends here. The Germans are a powerhouse, there’s no doubt – but the injuries and impact of a new line-up will be too much for a France side that is rounding into form. Iceland plays a very strong structural and disciplined game, and the French skill and ability just crushed it. While they won’t be able to do that to Germany, France is clearly at the top of their game right now, and with the encouragement of their rabid fans, this match is France’s to lose. It is expected that Germany will revert to a back four and bring in Benedict Howedes to the line-up to deal with the injuries. That should play into the hands of the French, as they look to use their skill and speed to stretch the German back-line out wide. Olivier Giroud is in fine form right now, and will be lethal on crosses and in/around the box.
While I see this game being very tight and back-and-forth, too much favours the French right now to side against them. Their offense is top-notch, and they haven’t shown many weaknesses at the back for that matter either. Paul Pogba in the middle of the pitch is the best at his position, and expect that tenacity to win many 50/50 balls and allow Les Bleus to dictate the pace and tempo. This could require extra time, but regardless, France at -110 to qualify for the Finals is my prediction.
PICK = France to Qualify (-110)