In the second semi-final, tournament favourites throughout, France and Germany clash and Will Burns thinks this could be a close contest.
Thursday 7th July 2016 – 20:00 BST
EURO 2016 – SEMI-FINAL
FRANCE v GERMANY
France have made it to the semi-finals of Europe’s most prestigious football tournament for the first time since 2000 and after a stuttering start, Didier Deschamps’ team finally look to have got their act together ahead of this clash against Germany.
Les Bleus will be boosted with the news that Germany are under-strength as Mats Hummels misses out due to suspension, Sami Khedira and Mario Gomez have been ruled out the remainder of the tournament while Benedikt Howedes and Bastien Schweinsteiger are doubtful. Thomas Muller should be moved up front in Gomez’s absence where he has fared well in previous tournaments over the years. Joachim Low started with a back five in the quarters on Saturday against Italy however it is highly unlikely he will do the same. Due to the missing first-teamers, Liverpool’s Emre Can or Dortmund’s Julian Weigl look to be making their first appearance of the tournament, which is not ideal but Germany always do seem to full the performances out of the bag when under pressure.
The French are ready to welcome back suspended duo Adil Rami and N’Golo Kante to the side after they missed out in the 5-2 win over Iceland. However, Rami may be overlooked for Barcelona new boy Samuel Umtiti. Deschamps has a difficult decision to make which could be a risky one in regards to the outcome of this match. Against Iceland, he played Antoine Griezmann through the middle who combined well with Olivier Giroud and France’s best chance of defeating Die Mannschaft would be to play these two together again. However, this would mean sacrificing a central midfielder and could mean Kante misses out, which would be dangerous to their chances, as he protects the defence well – which was visible when he was missing against Iceland as the Scandinavians broke down the French defence with ease in the second half.
Looking for some value in this match, I have investigated goals and I cannot see past Both Teams to Score at 6/5 at Paddy Power. With the Germans missing a few in their line-up and France looking very sceptical against Iceland in the second-half, I feel this is the bet I am most confident about. How this is over evens, I have no idea.
Mario Gotze started up front in the opening game of the tournament against Ukraine and was very ineffective, so in the absence of Mario Gomez I see Thomas Muller playing as the lone striker. He is currently valued at a massive 3.90 with 888Sport and that is a price I cannot ignore. Even if he does start at centre-forward, Muller will always be seen as a threat at set-pieces and at the edge of the area. Another price that is too large for this bet in my opinion and hopefully gives us a nice little pot to use on the final come Sunday evening.
If you’re betting… good luck!
TIP: Both Teams to Score (2.10 at PaddyPower)
TIP: Thomas Muller to score anytime (3.90 at 888Sport)