France vs Germany preview: Didier Deschamps asks his players to 'write history' in Euro 2016 semi-final

France have not beaten Germany in a knock-out game since the 1958 World Cup

Jack Pitt-Brooke
Marseille
Wednesday 06 July 2016 20:26
Comments
Deschamps is aware of how poor France's record is against Germany
Deschamps is aware of how poor France's record is against Germany

Didier Deschamps urged his France team to “write history” tomorrow night against Germany in their European Championship semi-final in Marseille.

France have not beaten Germany in a knock-out game since the 1958 World Cup but on Thursday evening at the Stade Velodrome they have a chance to put themselves into the final for which they would be strong favourites.

Deschamps captained France to the 1998 World Cup and he knows how poor the French record is against the Germans. They were knocked out of the 1982 and 1986 World Cups by their neighbours at the semi-final stage, as well as at the quarter-finals of the 2014 World Cup.

"No one can change history, but there are some new chapters to be written and the players can write them,” Deschamps said. "This page is currently blank and they need to fill it tomorrow.”

Deschamps promised that France would play on the front foot against the world champions, rather than sitting deep and trying to frustrate them.

“The players have belief in themselves, we know who the opposition are,” Deschamps said. “They are still the best side in the world, but we're really going to give it everything. Germany are used to dominating the opposition, but we can't simply go out there thinking about defending before trying to catch them out.”

This German team is ahead of France in their development, having won the World Cup two years ago. On their way to that win, Germany beat France 1-0 in the quarter-finals in Brazil. Hugo Lloris, the France captain, was in goal that day and he said yesterday that the team has grown since then. Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann have become two of the top players in Europe while Dimitri Payet and N'Golo Kante have emerged to become important parts of Deschamps’ set-up.

“It's not only the quarter final against Germany that allowed us to grow, it's the whole World Cup,” Lloris said. "We came up against a stronger team, a team with more experience and one that had success in the end. Our team has grown and gained experience. Some players have gone up levels and have become fixtures in the French side. The only truth is on the field. That is where we'll find out where we are.”

France have improved over the course of the tournament, starting slowly but beating Iceland 5-2 in the quarter-final at the Stade de France. Deschamps admitted that his team have not been perfect but backed them to continue their development into a match against an opponent far stronger than anyone they have yet faced.

“I have faith in them and I have been saying that since the start of the competition,” Deschamps said. “We haven't done everything brilliantly thus far. But if we are in this position, it is because the players deserve it. Then it is another story altogether, we are playing Germany, the best side in the competition. And a big performance against Germany would obviously create a big buzz.”

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