France (4-3-3):Â Lloris, Debuchy, Varane, Sakho, Evra, Pogba, Cabaye, Matuidi, Valbuena, Benzema, Griezmann
France will meet their toughest opponents yet when they face Germany at the Estadio Macarana in a clash guaranteeing a European team in the semi-finals. Antoine Griezmann could get the nod over Olivier Giroud after impressing coach Didier Deschamps coming off the bench against Nigeria, allowing Karim Benzema to lead the attack. Laurent Koscielny could start ahead of Mamadou Sakho at centre-back if the Liverpool man does not recover from a hamstring problem in time.
Germany (4-3-3):Â Neuer, Lahm, Mertesacker, Hummels, Howedes, Kroos, Khedira, Schweinsteiger, Ozil, Gotze, Muller
The Germans will make it four consecutive World Cup semi-final appearances if they manage to beat France Friday evening. Good news for Joachim Low’s side is the return of influential centre-back Mats Hummels, who is expected to line up alongside Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker. The German manager however faces the dilemma of whether to play captain Philippe Lahm in central midfield or at right-back. Miroslav Klose, Germany’s only registered striker, is one goal away from eclipsing Ronaldo’s World Cup goals record and could feature sometime as a plan B option.
Looking forward to the QFs this weekend….allez les bleus! #fravger
â€” Fenners (@fenners100) July 4, 2014
â€” #ARG & #Belgium (@Dunga_TB) July 4, 2014
â€” StanJames.com (@stanjames) July 4, 2014
The France-Germany clash back in 1982 will always be remembered for Harald Schumacher’s horrid challenge on France’s Patrick Battison, but one should not forget it was an epic 3-3 encounter that went to a penalty shoot-out.
France vs. Germany: An Alternative Preview
There have been 17 goals scored in the three previous World Cup meetings between France and Germany, an average 5.7 goals per game.
Germany have scored two or more goals in each of those World Cup matches and are unbeaten since their first World Cup clash with France in 1958 (3-6 defeat), winning in the 1982 clash on penalties (3-3) and winning in 1986 (2-0).
The two sides last met in a friendly in February 2013. France took the lead through a Mathieu Valbuena strike in the first half, before second half goals from Thomas Müller and Sami Khedira secured the victory for Germany.
Germany have reached the semi-finals of the last three World Cups. No nation has ever made the last four in four successive tournaments.
Germany are unbeaten in 15 internationals (W10 D5), longer than any other side still involved at the World Cup.
On the last five occasions that France have progressed past round 1 in the World Cup, they have reached the semi-final stage (1958, 1982, 1986, 1998 and 2006).
All of France’s goals during this World Cup have come from inside the box (10).
France have lost only one of their 10 games played on Brazilian soil (W6 D3).
France are the first team to benefit from two own goals in the same World Cup.
Les Bleus have hit the woodwork more often than any other team at this World Cup (6), which is the highest tally for a team since Poland and Argentina in 1982 (both 6).
Thomas Müller (four goals, two assists) has been directly involved in six of Germany’s nine goals (66.7%) at this this World Cup.
Karim Benzema (19) has fired in 12 more shots than any other French player during this tournament.
André Schürrle has scored five goals in his last five competitive matches for Germany.
Miroslav Klose needs one more goal to be the World Cup’s highest scorer. He is currently joint-top with Ronaldo (15 goals).