July 7, 21:00 CET
Venue: Stade Velodrome, Marseille, France
Referee: Nicola Rizzoli, Italy
The final many dreamt of… Germany v France! Two giants, two main favorites of the tournament will meet in the semi-finals to find out which team are facing Portugal in the final to reveal the champion of the tournament. Both of the teams have star squads, absolute leaders and tactical trainers. Here is where French skillful football will face German ‘machine.’
Germany did not have the easiest path so far. Heading the group due to more goals scored, the team easily sorted out Slovakia in the round of 16 (3-0) and then appeared in the the quarterfinals, where they turned out to face Italy. The game did not meet it’s expectations… 1-1 and then 6-5 on penalty shootout… Italy’s strong 5-midfielder tactics in general managed to break German creativity in the center of the field. However, Germany are Germany and one single opportunity of making a through pass to Jonas Hector was taken by Mario Gomez (will miss the semifinals), and after a deadly pass into the penalty box, Ozil scored. So, although Germany are not yet showing the best of themselves, they are keen on taking any single opportunity!
France, on the other hand, have had one of the easiest roads to the semifinals. They easily headed their group, then faced Ireland (2-1), Iceland (5-2) and now Germany. Although in almost all the games France showed light, fast football with creative midfield, their opponents where not legit enough to make conclusions about Didier Deschamps’ team. Important to mention, that Antoine Griezmann is the top scorer of the tournament with 4 goals, Dimitri Payet and Olivier Giroud each have 3. This attack seems unstoppable, but they have not faced Jerome Boating and the company yet…
France and Germany have met 12 times, France won 6, Germany 4 and 2 more games were draws. However, the majority of these games were friendlies, and the most recent competitive one happened in World Cup 2014, where Germany won 0-1 with Hummels both scoring and working out the defense,
Ozil v Payet
The most creative and at the same time harsh battle will be in the midfield, as the team who win the midfield will most probably book their place in the final. I’ll take not the battle of defensive midfielders and how they’ll ‘break’ the opponent’s midfield, but I’ll take the playmaking center of both of the teams. In the case of Payet and Ozil, statistics talk better than the words.
Ozil was the best assist provider in the Premier League (19) in the last season, while at the Euros Ozil has scored once and made an assist. Moreover he created 17 chances.
Payet, On the other hand, has scored 9 goals and made 12 assists in the last EPL season, while in the current Euro Cup he has scored 3 goals and made 2 assists, with 21 created chances which is the second best!!!
Germany have massive problems, with Mario Gomez and Khedira injured, both showing their best in the attack. These teams last encounter hero Mats Hummels is suspended due to yellow card overload.
Germany → Gomez, Khedira (both injured), Hummels (suspended)
France → none