Germany
Germany players celebrate their penalty shootout win over Italy in the Euro 2016 quarterfinalsIANS

Attacking football from both teams in a match has been very much the exception to the rule in this Euro 2016, with quite a few of the sides going with the let's-set-a-solid-defensive-base-and-see-where-we-can-go-from-there strategy. Germany and France are not among those teams, however, which is why the Euro 2016 semifinal in Marseille promises so much.

The world champions vs the hosts would have made a perfect final, but a semifinal is the next best thing, and neither will want to be knocked out just a step below the summit clash.

France and Germany were tipped as the favourites to lift the Euro 2016 title at the start of the tournament, largely because of their attacking pedigree. While France have Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud and Dimitri Payet, Germany have Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil and Julian Draxler. With the midfield maestros Paul Pogba and Toni Kroos a little deeper, this is a match that should have a lot of entertainment, even with the injury woes that Germany have coming into this match.

France sent out a message to Germany with a powerful attacking show against Iceland in the quarterfinals, beating the team that have captured everyone's imagination 5-2. Fear and worry, though, do not exist in the German football dictionary.

"Fear never comes into it," Muller told reporters. "We know France have many good players, but Iceland didn't honestly look that good at the back so if we defend well as a team, we will not let these players get into positions to show their class."

Germany have been about efficiency so far in Euro 2016, without really turning it on, barring that one match in the last 16 against Slovakia. Against Italy, in the quarterfinals, they seemed to have the match under control after Ozil put them in front in the second half, only for a daft handball from Jerome Boateng to see them lose the firm grip they had on the match.

They eventually prevailed in the penalty shootout, like they always do, but silly mistakes are something that Germany cannot afford against France. Didier Deschamps has got his France team playing without fear, but, up against their biggest test yet, and in a major tournament semifinal in front of their fans, could the choke come into effect?

"We haven't taken on as big a country as Germany yet," France midfielder Moussa Sissoko, whose team lost 1-0 to Germany in the 2014 World Cup quarterfinals, said at a media conference. "We're not going to complain about our draw as it allowed us to reach the semis. Thursday is a huge game.

"We want to win at all costs in order to qualify. Being knocked out in the quarters at the last World Cup still sticks in the throat. We have a calmer team than two years ago and we've had good results. We now need to prove ourselves on the field. Thursday, on paper, is the biggest game of the tournament. We'll do everything we can to reach the final."

Euro 2016 Semifinal 2: Germany vs France.

Date: Thursday, July 7.

Time: 9 p.m. local time (12.30 a.m. IST, 8 p.m. BST, 3 p.m. ET).

Venue: Stade Velodrome in Marseille.

TV listings: India: Sony Six/HD and Sony ESPN/HD. Germany: SRF, ARD and ORF1. France: TF1 and Bein Sports 1. UK and Ireland: BBC One. USA: ESPN. Canada: TSN and RDS. Australia: Bein Sports Australia 1. Latin America: DirecTV Sports. China and Hong Kong: CCTV and LeTV. Middle East and North Africa: Bein Max 1, 2 and 3. Singapore: Eleven Singapore, ABS-CBN and Singtel. Malaysia: Astro SuperSport. Thailand: Channel 3 and CTH. South Africa and Sub Saharan Africa: SuperSport.

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