Euro 2016 semi-final preview: France vs Germany


After convincing wins against the Republic of Ireland and Iceland, France have well and truly shaken off concerns that they struggle to put a result beyond the reach of inferior opposition. In two matches they have scored seven goals, all of them before the 61st minute.

What remains to be seen, however, is whether they are able to continue this scoring streak without conceding. Beating Germany is likely to require an approach more mature than simply 'scoring one more than your opponent'.

Having said that, if there is a team who could go on to win the tournament with a mostly attacking mindset, it would be the hosts. Maintaining a lead against a confident Olivier Giroud playing in front of Dmitri Payet and Antoine Griezzman is a unappealing prospect.

Germany have been a somewhat frustrating team to watch this tournament. They have seldom looked in complete control of a match while simultaneously giving the impression that there is litle chance of them losing it.

This could be due to the fact that they have looked far more confident in defence than attack. Joshua Kimmich, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng - despite the latter's handball that resulted in Italy's quarter-final equaliser - have been terrific in breaking down opposition attacks. The absence of Hummels and Gomez will be a blow to them.

Their concerns lie on the opposite end of the pitch, however. Toni Kroos has been outstanding and Mesut Ozil decent. Mario Gomez is unavailable for the match and Thomas Muller has been the disappointment of the tournament. Germany need him to step up.

Here's what Didier Deschamps had to say at a press conference.

"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."

Joachim Low, meanwhile, lamented the loss of two important players, also at a presser.

"I am especially sorry for Mario [Gomez]. He put in some good performances at these Euros and has helped the team, not only with his goals," he said.

"For us, it means we have to accept the new situation and find solutions, which we will do."

Team news for Germany is that, as stated, Gomez and Hummels are unavalable for disciplinary reasons. Sammi Khedira, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Jerome Boateng have minor injury concerns but are expected to be fit.