France vs Germany World Cup 2014 preview: Five reasons why Germany will win
The sides meet in a quarter-final in Rio bidding for a place in the last four
Ahead of Friday's quarter-final meeting, we find a few reasons why Germany will continue their strong tournament with a win over France.
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1. They can overcome anything
Germany’s preparation for this World Cup was as bad as it could get yet they’ve hardly missed a beat. Marco Reus withdrew after injuring himself in a warm-up game, while Julian Draxler and Benedikt Howedes were involved in a car crash. But it hasn’t affected them and Germany comfortably routed Portugal before doing enough to get into the knockout stages. Algeria proved a tough task but the Germans, as they always seem to, found a way. The flu outbreak will be the latest roadblock they will overcome.
2. Germany always find a way
The jury still seems to be out on this young set of players but they are arguably the most decorated group in the tournament. They have failed to take the final step when it really matters at crunch time in international football, reaching at least the semi-finals in the last four tournaments, but in domestic football they’ve seen and done it all. The majority of the squad come from Bayern Munich, who won the treble just two years ago and romped to another double last season.
3. Manuel Neuer - their last line of defence
Per Mertesacker is slow, Jerome Boateng is rash and they lack proper full backs. These may well be truthful criticisms to level at this German defence, but the style of play implemented by Joachim Low dictates a high line that leaves the Arsenal skipper exposed. Despite this weakness, they have conceded just three goals in the tournament, thanks to the brilliant skills of Manuel Neuer. The Bayern man is one of the best sweeper-keepers in the business, and recorded an astonishing 21 touches outside his box against Algeria. Even if France find a way past the German defence, Neuer will be out like a flash to snuff out any real danger. Manuel Neuer is brilliant in his role as a sweeper-keeper
He may have missed a couple of gilt-edged chances against Algeria – and produced one of the worst free-kick routines ever – but Thomas Muller is lethal in front of goal. Coming into the game against the North Africans Muller had scored his nine World Cup goals from just 10 shots on target. In short giving him a chance is usually lethal. If that wasn’t enough Low can call upon the skills of veteran striker Miroslav Klose from the bench… the joint highest scorer in World Cup history.
5. History is on their side
Germany and France have played each other just three times in World Cups, with Germany winning twice and France just once, a 6-3 win way back in 1958. One of those German wins contained one of the most controversial moments in World Cup history, when Harald Schumacher took out Patrick Battison in the 1982 semi-final. Perhaps Manuel Neuer will adopt the same tactic should Karim Benzema find himself through on goal.
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