Tonight sees the second semi final of Euro 2016 as hosts France take on current World Champions Germany both sides are one game from the final for France it would be the opportunity to win the tournament in home soil while for Germany they are edging closer to back to back major tournament success.
France were ruthless at the quarter final stage as they brushed past England’s conquerors Iceland with a 5-2 win on Sunday. The scoreline may slightly flatter the Icelanders as France were 4-0 up before the break and then had the luxury of resting players once the result was secured
Their were concerns before the game that the suspension of both Adil Rami and N’Golo Kante was caused France some problems but they have come through the hurdle of Iceland and these two players will slot in at centre back and centre midfield respectively.
Germany edged past Italy in their quarter final and needed penalties in which to do so. They weren’t classic German penalties by any stretch of the imagination but they were somewhat fortunate that Italy’s efforts from the spot were even worse.
That game saw Manuel Neuer’s goal breached for the first time in the tournament as Leonardo Bonucci’s second half spot kick levelled the game at one goal each.
That game wasn’t without its casualties though as Sami Khedira was subbed off early through injury and striker Mario Gomez is also ruled out of this encounter.
Bastian Schweinsteiger who saw a header disallowed in the game against Italy will likely deputise for Khedira while Germany who were already light up front will really miss the presence of Gomez. There isn’t really a like for like replacement so will a change of system be required for Joachim Low’s side.
France will have no such problems in attack as the have the tournament’s top scorer Antoine Griezmann in their Arsenal and talking of Arsenal, Oliver Giroud has had a very impressive tournament how Gunners fans would be wishing he was like that week in week out at The Emirates.
It’s fair to say that France finally clicked against Iceland but perhaps the opposition didn’t really test them all that much. That said after a five star performance their tails will certainly be up and they will have the belief that they can move onto their first major tournament final in 10 years.
For Germany there performance against Italy wasn’t one that will necessarily create fear in the French camp but they were pragmatic enough to get the result required.
They were at the tournament best when they strolled past Slovakia in the Round of 16 and for 45 minutes in the group stages ran Northern Ireland ragged although due to poor finishing the scoreline doesn’t reflect that.
The big question then who moved on to the final. On the basis of the two quarter final performances you would say France but that shouldn’t necessarily be the precursor to a prediction
Although I still think France have the stronger side and will be able to edge past the 2014 World Cup winners. France to move on to a home final while Germany sent packing.