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Germany square off with France in the second semi-final match of Euro 2016. France have not beat the World Champions in a major tournament since 1958. Germany have only conceded one goal all tournament, which was a penalty. Can France breakdown the German defence to overcome their slump and progress to the Euro 2016 final?
Die Mannschaft will be without some key players in key positions on Thursday. Mats Hummels will miss the game through suspension, Bastien Schweinsteiger is a doubt for the match. Mario Gomez and Sami Khedira have been ruled out of the rest of the tournament with injuries. Losing four players from your squad is enough to test any team, it will be difficult for Germany to overcome the voids.
The World Champions were thoroughly tested against a well drilled Italian side. The match ended 1-1 after 90 minutes with a goal from Mesut Özil and a penalty from Leonardo Bonucci. Jerome Boateng conceded the penalty with an unbelievable handball that saw both hands stretched above his head while marking Giorgio Chiellini.
Extra time saw neither side find a goal, which left penalties eventually finding the winner. Unbelievably, both teams missed three penalties with the Italians fourth miss costing them their place in the semi-finals. The shoot-out saw a lot of mind games and some of the worst spot kicks you would ever see.
Simone Zaza’s would be the pick of the bunch. He was substituted on just before the final whistle in preparation for penalties. He stepped up and took what must have been more steps in the run up than he did during the match before sending the ball wide.
Les Bleus do not have the same squad troubles as Germany. Didier Deschamps will have full reign in picking his strongest eleven for the match. France would have enjoyed having long rest periods between matches as well as avoiding some of the bigger teams in the knockout stages.
Historically, France have enjoyed having home advantage in tournaments. In 1984 they won the European Championship, in 1998 they won the World Cup and 2016 could see them win the European Championship again. Only time will tell if they can hold their nerve.
In the last round, France faced the smallest nation of the tournament in Iceland. The French were rampant and forced their way to a 4-0 lead at half-time. Olivier Giroud opened the scoring before Paul Pogba headed home around 8 minutes later. Two quick goals before half-time from Dimitri Payet and Antione Griezmann saw the game beyond doubt after 45 minutes.
The cliche of a game of two-halves was true as a spirited performance from Iceland saw them claw two goals back before the end of the game. Olivier Giroud was not to be upstaged and bagged his second in the second half.
This is looking like a tough game for both teams. It will be difficult to predict how Germany will react after a dismal showing in the penalty shoot-out against Italy. France have shown some quality, the second half against Ireland and the first half against Iceland.
Both teams have their weaknesses, Germany have held firm defensively, France have been threatening in front of goal. As this is a tough one to call, the prediction is a 1-1 draw after 90 minutes. Germany will want to get the job done as soon as possible as no side has won penalty shoot-outs in successive rounds at a EURO final tournament.
France to progress after extra time or penalties.