Germany coach Joachim Low admits his side’s World Cup win over France two years ago will have no bearing on their Euro 2016 semi-final.
The two teams will meet in an enticing last-four clash in Marseille on Thursday after Germany saw off Italy on penalties and France beat Iceland 5-2. It is a repeat of the quarter-final in Brazil, won 1-0 by eventual champions Germany thanks to Mats Hummel’s early header, but Low concedes his side face improved opponents this time around.
“France played a very good match (against Iceland),” he said at a press conference reported by Bild in Germany and L’Equipe in France.
“They have had difficulties in some matches but they are very strong mentally. They are playing at home and have a lot of confidence. In Marseille, the supporters are superb.
“They have a dynamic, a power and very good players — (Olivier) Giroud, (Dimitri) Payet, (Antoine) Griezmann, on the bench (Anthony) Martial and (Kingsley) Coman — they are a very strong team. I have always said they are among the favourites.”
Giroud, Payet and Griezmann combined for four goals against Iceland, with Paul Pogba also on target. Griezmann’s strike left him as the tournament’s leading scorer on four.
Low continued: “I don’t like to talk too much about favourites for a particular game... maybe France because they are at home, but after 90 or 120 minutes this sort of thing no longer matters.
“France are a bit the same as Italy, although less defensive. Pogba and (Blaise) Matuidi in midfield look to get them moving forward.
“The quarter-final in Brazil two years ago was very hard. The match was close, we scored quite early and defended our lead. That win will not play a part on Thursday. France have developed since 2014 with (coach) Didier Deschamps.”
The suspended Hummels is one of several key absentees for Germany on Thursday, with Sami Khedira and Mario Gomez ruled out through injury — the latter for the remainder of the tournament — and Khedira’s deputy Bastian Schweinsteiger doubtful.
“The 120 minutes against Italy have left their mark, unfortunately,” said Low.
“Mario Gomez is out. Khedira will not play on Thursday against France. We will do all we can to get him ready for the final if we get there. Schweinsteiger got a blow to the right knee, we will have to wait and see if he can play. And Hummels is suspended. We will obviously have to make changes.
“I have confidence in all my players, even those who have not played yet. They have shown good form in training.”
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