France eager to settle score with Germany

STERN TEST AHEAD: Midfielder Paul Pogba heading in France's second goal in their quarter-final against Iceland. Coach Deschamps says Germany - who almost stumbled against Italy - are still a class act. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE


    Jul 05, 2016

    France eager to settle score with Germany


    FRANCE will have the perfect opportunity to avenge their defeat to Germany in the 2014 World Cup when they take on their old foes in the Euro 2016 semi-finals on Thursday, according to star striker Olivier Giroud.

    "It will be a great match, we have a lot of desire to get our own back for the World Cup," he said after his two goals helped France thrash Iceland 5-2 in Sunday's quarter-final.

    A header from Mats Hummels knocked France out in the quarter-final in Rio de Janeiro two years ago and Germany went on to win their fourth global crown.

    But an even more painful elimination at German hands lingers in the French sporting memory - the 1982 World Cup, which featured the infamous flooring of Patrick Battiston by Harald "Toni" Schumacher.

    Arsenal forward Giroud said the showdown with Germany in Marseille will be "a completely different match" to the romp against the Icelanders.

    "They are the world champions and they are often in the last four of major tournaments," he noted.

    "I'm very proud of what this France side is achieving and I hope we'll come out once again with the right result."

    In contrast to France's straightforward passage, Germany were given a severe test in their quarter-final. Italy took them to an error-strewn penalty shoot-out in Bordeaux on Saturday before Joachim Loew's side triumphed 6-5.

    The Germans suffered injuries that ruled out Mario Gomez for the rest of the tournament and left key midfielders Sami Khedira and captain Bastian Schweinsteiger struggling to be fit in time.

    Despite those setbacks, France coach Didier Deschamps is in no doubt that Germany are the class act of the tournament.

    "Germany are the best team, there is no doubt about that, even if Italy gave them a few scares. But we are there in the final four and we'll give it our all," he said.