Germany are the kind of footballing team who always seem to know what to do in the pressure situations more often than not, and as a result, giving them the edge in the big games. France have come into this Euro 2016 with the pressure of being the hosts and the expectations of a country in desperate need of something to cheer for. So far, Didier Deschamps' men have handled that pressure pretty well, but if they can do that against the pressure-masters or not is the big question as France and Germany get ready to slug it out in the semifinals of Euro 2016 in Marseille on Thursday.
As solid as Germany have been in this Euro 2016, France have been a little better from an attacking perspective, with everything aligning for the hosts perfectly in the quarterfinals against Iceland.
Up against a side that had just embarrassed England in the round of 16, France could have started tentatively, in order to make sure they do not go a goal down early; but, instead, they took the game to Iceland, using their power and pace to unsettle the Iceland defence and that gamble paid off as the hosts came away with a thoroughly comprehensive 5-2 victory.
Deschamps has little worries over his attackers, with Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud and Dimitri Payet looking in terrific form, but the same cannot be said of the team's defence. At the end of the day, France ended up conceding two goals to Iceland, despite having the game won at halftime, while they have given away a further two more goals in Euro 2016.
Compare that to Germany, who have conceded just one goal all tournament, you know the defence of France is what will likely make or break this semifinal, especially considering the last time the Germans faced the hosts of a major tournament in the semifinal, they won 7-1.
"I have faith in these players -- we haven't done everything brilliantly so far but we've knocked out five teams," Deschamps told reporters. "Now it's another story altogether. We're playing Germany, the best side in the competition and if we put in a big performance against them, it will create a real buzz."
The fact that France, who have a slightly better overall head to head record over their opponents, have looked so good in attack and Germany are a team who always think forward bodes well for this semifinal. With both teams likely to think on the front foot every time they have possession, goals could be the order of the day.
Germany, who have injury worries to overcome, will want to take control from the off to quieten the fans, who will, no doubt, create a lot of noise at the Stade Velodrome, but an early goal from France, in particular, and we could be in for a semifinal classic.
"In attack, France have been very flexible, which creates a lot of pressure -- not just in the penalty area but also in midfield," Germany manager Joachim Low said. "They take their chances, and they have three strikers at the top of the goal rankings.
"They'll attack very aggressively – they're the hosts and their attack has been very good, it's been their strength so far.
"We have to play as a unit and help each other and we must be compact in defence. If we give them space, they'll be very quick and very dynamic, and that would make it very difficult for us."
Where to Watch Live
Germany vs France is scheduled for a 9 p.m. local time (12.30 a.m. IST, 8 p.m. BST, 3 p.m. ET) start. All the live streaming and TV information is below.
Germany: TV: ZDF, ORF1 and SRF.
France: TV: TF1 and Bein Sports 1 and 2. Live Streaming: Bein Sports Connect.
USA: TV: ESPN 2 and ESPN 3. Live Streaming: Watch ESPN.
Canada: TV: TSN1 and 3 and RDS. Live Streaming: TSN TV.
Australia: TV: Bein Sports Australia 1. Live Streaming: Bein Sports Australia Connect.
South Africa and Sub Saharan Africa: TV: SuperSport 3. Live Streaming: SuperSport
Malaysia: TV: Astro SuperSport. Live Streaming: Astro on the Go.
China and Hong Kong: TV: CCTV and LeTV.
Thailand: TV: Channel 3 and CTH.
Latin America: TV: DirecTV.
Middle East and North Africa: TV: Bein Max 1, 2 and 3. Live Streaming: Bein SportsConnect.
Singapore: TV: Eleven Singapore, ABS-CBN and Singtel. Live Streaming: Singtel Go.