France vs Germany Preview
The World Cup 2014 has surely been an amazing journey thus far. The next pit stop in this month long competition is the much anticipated ‘Quarter Finals‘. Two European Giants go head to head on the biggest South American platform there is, in front of a global audience waiting to be thrilled from the moment the whistle is blown. Out of all possible permutations for this round, France vs Germany has every making of a World Cup final. Both nations deserve to go through, it’s only a question of who the better side is on that particular day?
WE ARE GOING ALL THE WAY – FRANCE
Putting behind their internal squad issues back in 2010, les Bleus are out to conquer, and make no mistake, they have what it takes to go all the way this time around. We’ve seen from the start of the tournament, the French have kept their cool and played their natural free flowing game and haven’t struggled up until the pre-quarters against Nigeria. Didier Deschamps has put together a wonderful team which has produced a string of positive results which will boost their confidence ahead of their clash against their old rivals, Germany.
The group stages saw France beat Honduras and Switzerland without so much as a flinch, winning by huge margins. (3-0 and 2-5 respectively) Ecuador however, looked seemingly solid back in the defense. Despite having a dominated possession over them, France were drained completely and ultimately played out a goalless draw. Their shots taken to shots on target ratio is commendable, being 20:13 in that match, which goes to show that Ecuador held their end very well inspite of the relentless push France were making.
After topping Group E with a 7 point tally, they went up against a revised Nigerian side who kept the les Bleus on the tip of their toes for most of the match. Only an unforced error by goalkeeper Enyeama, who had a brilliant night up until that point, gave away the first goal which has headed home by Paul Pogba. Statistically speaking, Nigeria had them beat in every department.
Player-wise, their main forward, Karim Benzema has looked lethal from the beginning, snatching up 3 goals and 2 assists in their 4 matches. Marseille midfielder Valbuena has made his presence in the starting XI with much of his through balls finding the directed target up front. With Pogba just behind him, his CDM position allows him to play up front, providing necessary support to the attack as well as the defense. Both players have a pass-completion rate of 75% nearly which is good standard going into the final stages of this tournament.
THIS IS OUR TIME – GERMANY
As we inch closer to the finals, teams remember their previous mistakes and the hopes that were shattered 4 years ago. Germany had reached the semi finals in the 2010 World Cup, but a mighty Spain put them in their place and struck them down 0-1 to ensure their berth in the finals. What is interesting though is Muller, who was last World Cup’s Golden Boot winner, wasn’t in the final (obviously) but still managed to take home his personal glory. Can he do it this time around? Joachim Loew is keen on defeating France, which might be the biggest task in this tournament. His side has also had its fair share of decent results but nothing close to what the French are riding on.
What an incredile start the Germans had to their WC campaign. They demolished Ronaldo and his Portuguese men 4-0 only to struggle with Ghana which pulled out a 2-2 draw and later winning on a lone goal against the Americans. Muller was decisive in their opening game, scoring a hat trick to take him to the top of the goal scoring charts. Striding on confidence, they fell into the very pit they made, drawing to a Ghana side who seemed to pounce on every opportunity they got to pack a punch in Germany. In the last 20 mins or so, they got their act together and Klose scored the goal which made him a joint top scorer in the World Cup along with Brazilian legend, Ronaldo.
Coming to the pre-quarters, Germany had the worst match in the tournament. Boasting a squad of experienced players, superstars in the making and a world renowned manager, they managed to snatch up a goalless draw, taking matters to extra time where someone hit them on the head and realized they were the original Germany. Goals from Chelsea forward Schurrle and Arsenal midfielder Ozil secured their victory. But Algeria fought back and Djabou scored one in the 121st minute and was inches close to scoring one more, which would’ve taken drama to a new level.
Muller is doing his job of getting into the box and putting the ball into the net. Bayern Munich youngster Gotze has done well but has wasted ample chances to tick the scoreboard. Lahm, being the captain has to bring his team together and pull defense closer and push forward as they usually should do. Kroos should make those runs down the left wing and drift to the center and take long range shots. Schweinsteiger should control the midfield much better, up to his capability in fact. If all goes as planned, Germany might be a completely revised and different side tomorrow.
France vs Germany Possible Lineups:
France: Hugo Lloris; Patrice Evra, Mamdou Sakho, Raphaël Varane, Mathieu Debuchy; Blaise Matuidi, Yohan Cabaye, Paul Pogba; Antoine Griezmann, Karim Benzema, Mathieu Valbuena.
Germany: Manuel Neuer; Benedikt Höwedes, Mats Hummels, Per Mertesacker,Jerome Boateng; Bastian Schweinsteiger, Philipp Lahm, Toni Kroos; Mario Götze, Thomas Müller, Mesut Özil.
France vs Germany Match Facts:
- There have been 17 goals scored in the 3 previous WC meetings between these two sides.
- The two sides last met in friendly in Feb 2013. France took the lead through a Mathieu Valbuena strike in the first half, before Muller and Khedira secured the victory for Germany in the second half.
- Germany are unbeaten in 15 internationals, longer than any other side still involved in the World Cup.
- All of France’s goals during this World Cup have come from inside the box.
- France are the first team to benefit from 2 own goals in the same World Cup.
- Miroslav Klose needs one more goal to be the World Cup’s highest scorer. He is currently joint top with Ronaldo. (15 goals)
Facts compiled from BBC
France vs Germany Prediction:
I have a feeling France will edge past the Germans and put an end to their footballing dominance. Consolation though, the lone goal Germany scores will be off the foot of Klose.
France 2 – 1 Germany