Germany v France - Euro 16 Semi-Finals

The second Euro 16 semi-final plays out later tonight and sees European giants Germany and France face-off for a place in the final of the competition on Sunday against Portugal.

World champions Germany made heavy weather of seeing off Italy in the quarter-finals, drawing with the Azzurri in normal and extra-time only to win 6-5 on penalty kicks.

Joachim Low’s team produced a subdued performance against stubborn Italian team, but took the lead on 65 minutes, as Mesut Ozil found the net. The Azzurri equalised on 77 minutes through a penalty kick from Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci.

The game was all-square at normal and extra-time, so the game went to penalties with Jonas Hector firing home the winning spot-kick, after Manuel Neuer saved Matteo Darmian’s effort.

The world champions are unbeaten in their last six international matches and Low’s team have kept clean sheets in five of those games, conceding just once in the process.

One big major negative for Die Mannschaft from the Italy game was that striker Mario Gomez limped off in the last 20 minutes and the 30-year-old has now been ruled out for the rest of the tournament. The former-Stuttgart star had previously found the net twice in his three appearances and was looking like a contender for the Golden Boot in France.

Gomez is joined on the sidelines through suspension by defender Mats Hummels and through injury by midfielder Sami Khedira. Manchester United midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger is likely to replace Khedira, while Benedikt Howedes will come in at centre-back, if he recovers from a knock.

Germany have won two of the last three meetings with France, with their most prominent win coming in a 1-0 victory over Les Bleus in the 2014 World Cup quarter-finals.

Despite those two recent defeats, France have won six of the last nine international meetings between the pair, including a 2-0 friendly win last time these two teams met in a friendly at the end of 2015.

The hosts have not beaten Germany in a competitive match since the 1958 World Cup and a 6-3 victory.

France breezed through to the last-four with a 5-2 demolition of surprise package Iceland at the Stade de France. Didier Deschamps side were four goals up by half-time.

Olivier Giroud opened the scoring on 12 minutes, before Paul Pogba, Dimitri Payet and Antoine Griezmann added goals to all-but end the game as a contest. Kolbeinn Sigthorsson scored for Iceland, before Giroud headed home his second.

Iceland got a second goal back on 85 minutes, as Birkir Bjarnason headed home, but the goal meant little and Deschamps side head into this clash in confident mood.

Les Bleus have a good recent record in international matches, having won 13 of their last 15 international games and losing just once in the process.

France are the top scorers in the competition with 11 goals. Striker Antoine Griezmann has scored four times, while Olivier Giroud and Dimitri Payet have found the target three times, so all three are candidates for the competitions golden boot.

The host nation has a fully-fit squad to choose from with the return from suspension of Adil Rami and N’Golo Kante, who both served one-game suspensions against Iceland.

Germany will no doubt miss the key players who will be absent and the trio will be difficult to replace. The absentees make the hosts Football Issue favourites to make it to the final on Sunday at the Stade de France.

pumaball

Advertising