Friday 4th July 2014 17:00 LOC / 21:00 BST – 5th July 06.00 AEST Estadio Castelao Fortaleza, Brazil
For the second game running the only injury doubt for France concerns Sakho. The Liverpool centre-back sat out France’s 2-0 second-round win over Nigeria. He is rated 50-50 to return here. Should he be unavailable, Koscielny will keep his place as the second centre-back alongside Varane.
The rest of the defence is settled, with Debuchy and Evra the automatic choices at full-back ahead of goalkeeper Lloris. The midfield trio of Cabaye, Pogba and Matuidi is also settled. There was speculation that Sissoko would get picked ahead of Pogba against Nigeria. But Pogba started and scored so he is almost certain to keep his place.
There could be a change to the starting line-up in attack. Giroud started against Nigeria but was disappointing. Griezmann came on as a substitute and was a lot more effective in the final 30 minutes. Griezmann is therefore likely to start here. That would also allow Benzema to start in his preferred position as the team’s central striker instead of operating on the left wing. Valbuena – arguably France’s most impressive performer in Brazil – is an automatic choice on the right wing.
Bench (from): Landreau GK, Ruffier GK, Sagna RB, Koscielny CB, Mangala CB, Digne LB, Mavuba DM, Schneiderlin DM/CM, Sissoko CM/RW, Cabella AM, Remy RW/ST, Giroud ST
Tactical Keys to the Game:
Motivational Keys to the Game:
Mustafi – CB/RB – Injured
Podolski – LW/ST 20% Schweinsteiger – CM – 30% Hummels – CB – 60%
Germany have injury worries as they go into a tough match against France in the quarter-final.
Shkodran Mustafi looks to be out of the tournament after picking up a thigh injury against Algeria that forced him to be stretchered off. Germany will be hopeful for the return of Mats Hummels, who was suffering with flu before the Algeria match and not risked. If Hummels returns then Jerome Boateng will switch back to RB.
If Hummels misses out again it may mean some drastic changes. Philip Lahm is expected to switch to right back with Toni Kroos dropping into the defensive midfield slot and Andre Schurrle, goalscoring hero against Algeria, called into the team on the right of the attacking midfield with Ozil moving inside.
Bastian Schweinsteiger had to be subbed against Algeria with a hamstring problem and he is a major doubt, meaning Sami Khedira could return to the starting 11 after overcoming his own knee problem.
Lukas Podolski remains a doubt with a thigh injury and seems unlikely to start.
Bench (from): Weidenfeller GK, Zieler GK, Großkreutz RB/LB/AM, Durm LB, Ginter DM/CB, Kramer DM/CM, Schweinsteiger CM/DM, Schurrle AM/ST, Draxler LW/RW/AM, Klose ST, Podolski LW/ST
Tactical Keys to the Game:
Motivational Keys to the Game:
Germany have struggled to impose themselves on games at times in this tournament. Despite keeping possession for long spells against both USA and Algeria they found themselves struggling to make the breakthrough against both sides. This led to nerves throughout the team and some chances being snatched at when they came.
Football Form Labs Betting Preview: France (1) v Germany (10)
While this World Cup has seen an abundance of goals, in general, the Maracana has been one place where they haven’t flown in as there have been just eight in five games.
France have dominated the head-to-head since 1990 as they’ve won five and lost only one of seven meetings. However, that defeat came in their most recent clash – a 2-1 loss 17 months ago – and none of the games were in competitive environments.
In the nine all-UEFA World Cup quarter-finals since 1990 the higher ranked team has gone W4-D3-L2 and there have been an average of just 1.78 goals per game. All three drawn games were won on penalties by the higher ranked side and we’d certainly fancy the Germans if it went that far with their greater experience and arguably the best keeper in the world in Manuel Neuer.
If we also include European Championships there have been 47 quarter or semi-final matches between two UEFA teams since 1990 and the higher ranked side has W21-D20-L6. Germany have won four of their last five major quarter-finals and they progressed on penalties in the other game. While the extra 30 minutes they played might take its toll they played that match in cool conditions and they will probably have learnt some valuable lessons from that game. Most notably they looked a far superior side with Philipp Lahm at right-back and with Andre Schurrle in attack allowing Thomas Muller to get more into the game. They should also have Mats Hummels back to sure up what was a rather shaky looking defence.
Germany have an excellent record against top-10 ranked sides having won 12 of 17 such games back to the last World Cup including a W7-D0-L1 record in competitive games. Interestingly the only one of the most recent five of these 17 games to have more than two goals was the demolition of 10-man Portugal and in the other four Germany scored just once on each occasion.
France have struggled in their last two games after such an impressive start to the competition and while their squad rotation should ensure they are relatively fresh there is also a sense that they aren’t sure of their best XI. They do have a superb knockout record at major championships as they’ve lost just two of 16 matches since 1996 with seven wins and seven draws in 90 minutes. Just one of their last nine knockout games have had more than two goals. However, in all games against top-five ranked sides France have lost four of their seven matches since 2012 including a W0-D1-L2 record in competitive games.
We expect to see a much improved performance from Germany here and they look excellent value to qualify. However, we don’t imagine France will roll over and this may well go to extra-time and penalties after a low scoring game.