Injuries and suspensions have hit Germany at the worst time and, therefore, one is picking France to qualify for the UEFA Euro 2016 final at the expense of the FIFA World Cup champion.
German football magazine Kicker has a reputation for being spot on with its forecast line-ups and it has gone to print with neither Bastian Schweinsteiger nor Sami Khedira in the Germany starting side. Mario Gomez has absolutely no chance of overcoming his knock and Mats Hummels is banned so, if Kicker is correct, Germany will take to the field against France without four of its top 11 players. Germany is the team that makes a habit of peaking in big tournaments and it has reached the UEFA Euro 2016 last four without conceding a goal from open play but one thinks that the Germans should be clear underdogs for Thursday’s semi-final in Marseille.
One could not recommended steaming into France purely based on its UEFA Euro 2016 performances because the French did not scale any great heights versus Romania (2-1), Albania (2-0), Switzerland (0-0) and Ireland (2-1) before scoring four unanswered first-half goals in their 5-2 victory over Iceland. But France did beat Germany 2-0 in a Paris friendly eight months ago, a game that will be remembered not because of the football but because of what occurred off the pitch, both at the Stade de France and other venues in the city.
Most semi-finals in major competitions are close so, out of respect for that and Germany’s tradition, one is reluctant to back France to win in normal time, with odds of -105 with Betfair about the French prevailing by any method appealing more.
Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli will be the man in the middle of the UEFA Euro 2016 semi-final between France and Germany. Rizzoli sent off Ireland defender Shane Duffy in France’s 2-1 UEFA Euro 2016 last 16 triumph to take his cards tally to 13 yellows and one red from three matches. With UEFA’s card amnesty operating ahead of the Euro 2016 semi-finals, one would not blame punters for getting stuck into over 46 booking points with Coral. However, one thinks that there are smarter ways on which to bet on Rizzoli’s decisions.
Bet365 is quoting odds of -110 about the Germans collecting the first booking.
Both Germany and France have picked up seven UEFA Euro 2016 yellow cards but the Germans have committed 13 more fouls than the French. Also, Rizzoli is a vastly experienced official – his appointments have included the 2010 UEFA Europa League final, the 2013 UEFA Champions League final and the 2014 FIFA World Cup final – but even he may wilt under the pressure of a sold-out Marseille crowd that will be firmly in France’s corner. It is called home advantage.
France’s opponents have received the first booking in four of its five UEFA Euro 2016 games and the last competitive match between the French and Germany, which took place in Rio de Janeiro during the 2014 FIFA World Cup knockout stage, saw the Germans win the bookings battle 2-0.
France to Qualify
Thursday 7th July, 20:00 GMT
Germany to Receive the First Booking
Thursday 7th July, 20:00 GMT