Germany vs France Preview: Heavyweights clash in second semi-final

Home nation France will take on Germany in the semi-final of Euro 2016

Germany vs France Preview: Heavyweights clash in second semi-final
Germany vs France: old nations clash in last four of Euro 2016

Home nation France, will face a tough test if they are to reach the final of Euro 2016, when they take on Germany in the last four on Thursday evening.

Taking it all the way

Germany faced a tough test in their passage to the last four, taking on long-time counterparts Italy in the quarter final.

Mesut Özil gave the Germans the lead, but a penalty from Leonardo Bonucci forced the game to extra-time and eventually penalties.

The country that is renowned for their penalty efficiency, failed to live up to the task on this occasion, missing three penalties in the shootout.

However, the save from Manuel Neuer on Matteo Darmian's spot-kick allowed Jonas Hector to slot home the winning kick to send Germany into the semi's.

Joachim Löw said "France have the home advantage and therefore they are favourites" but said that "just doesn't count during the 90 minutes."

Above: France celebrating Paul Pogba's goal in their 5-2 win over Iceland | Photo: Reuters
Above: France celebrating Paul Pogba's goal in their 5-2 win over Iceland | Photo: Reuters

Easy passage

It was expected by a nation, and many others that France would make it to this stage of the competition, having already passed through the group stages and beaten the Republic of Ireland.

They faced a tough test in the last eight against giant killers Iceland, after their triumph over England.

However they swiftly disposed of their Icelandic counterparts, with goals from Oliver Giroud, Paul Pogba, Dimitri Payet and Antoine Griezmann giving them a four-goal first-half lead.

Giroud added their fifth, before Iceland had a mini resurgence, with goals from Kolbeinn Sigthorsson and Bikir Bjarnason, but Didier Deschamps' side eased into the last four.

Deschamps said "we cant change past history" but said that his side have "got our own page to write" and it is "the players who have to write this page because for the moment it's blank."

He concluded "were facing the best team in the world" but the side "have to believe" and "want the fans to believe in us too" and admitted "with all respect" they have "for Germany, we have a great chance and were going to take it with both hands."

Team News

Löw was handed a big blow when he learned start striker Mario Gomez, was ruled out of the tournament with a hamstring, which took him out of the draw with Italy.

There is also concerns over the fitness of both Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira, while Matt Hummels will be suspended, after his yellow card in the last-eight.

Deschamps has no such concerns, welcoming back N'Golo Kante and Adil Rami returning from suspension. There were concerns for both Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny, both on a yellow cards against Iceland, but were substituted early to allow them to play in this contest.

France will take on Germany at the Stade Vélodrome, Marseille on Thursday, July 7 with kick-off at 8pm BST.