It's a pity that a match, which could have been worthy of a Women's World Cup final, will rather be played in the quarterfinals. Giants of women's football, France and Germany, are set for an epic quarterfinal encounter at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal on Friday.
Both Germany and France finished atop their respective group in the first round of matches, much on expected lines as they were two strong contenders in the competition. But on Friday, one big team will have to walk out of the Fifa Women's World Cup.
Germany set up a date with France in the last-eight after thrashing another top European side, Sweden, who are ranked 5 in women's football, in the round of 16. Striker Celia Sasic scored a brace for Germany to help them cruise past Sweden 4-1.
But, France also came up with a solid performance against South Korea to seal their quarterfinal berth with the score reading 3-0. Hence, both teams head to the Olympic Stadium with full confidence. With Germany being the top-ranked side in the competition, and one of the most successful teams in the Women's World Cup, they walk into the game as favourites. Germany won the title in 2003 and 2007.
However, Germany coach Silvia Neid thinks otherwise. "Who said that we are stronger than France? I did not say that?" Sports Net quoted Neid as saying.
"We will see who is stronger [on Friday]. The fact is that it's a match that will be played at a high level. Sometimes good teams will neutralize each other, and hopefully luck will be on our side if it comes to that."
French coach Philippe Bergeroo believes that the players have a lot of ambition, even if they might not have won many titles.
"We're playing the first ranked team in FIFA, compared to this team—we are the outsiders," Bergeroo said. "For us we are trying to be humble, we haven't won anything yet, and were playing a team that has won a number of titles, but we have a lot of ambition."
France came up with a narrow 1-0 win against England, but lost against Colombia, which shows their lack of consistency.
Against the Germans, France cannot even think of giving an inch for their European rivals can punish them with the number of star players such as Anja Mittag and Celia Sasic. Add to it , Dzsenifer Marozsan and Annika Krahn are two other stars in the team.
Mittag and Sasic have scored five goals each in the competition. The duo should be tightly marked by the French players.
With such players at their disposal, Germany are a huge threat going forward as was witnessed against Ivory Coast, when they thumped 10 goals past the African nation. If France fail to contain these classy German players, it is going to be a long night.
Where to Watch Live
FIFA Women's World Cup quarter-final clash between Germany and France is scheduled for 4pm local time (1:30am IST, 9pm BST, 4pm EST) start. (There is no live coverage in India)
Viewers in the US can watch the game live on Fox Network with live streaming on Fox Soccer2 Go.
Those in the UK can catch the action live on BBC3 and BBC IPlayer, and the game will be available in France on Eurosport France.
Viewers in Germany can watch it on ORF Sport Plus and online on ORF Live Streaming.