Paul Pogba, Mathieu Valbuena, Raphael Varane, and Blaise Matuidi lead a potent French attack that is looking to continue on their dream run to their first World Cup win since 1998 (and eradicate the difficult times of the 2010 tournament). But they face a Germany side that, while it has looked dominant at times, has not lived up to the expectations of fans back home.
Die Mannschaft have another obstacle to overcome besides the one being created by "not meeting expectations." Seven members of the side have come down with an illness during training after their 2-1 win to defeat the Desert Foxes of Algeria. Despite key centre-half Mats Hummels being one of the sick party, manager Jogi Löw expects his side to be fully fit.
France themselves have one injury in central defense to be worried about--the leg injury Mamdou Sakho has been dealing with that kept the Liverpool man out of the side's Round of 16 clash against Nugeria. Otherwise, manager Didier Deschamps can expect a fully fit side from which he can select.
Teo French players--midfield maestro Paul Pogba and captain/left back Patrice Evra--could pick up a suspension if they receive a yellow card. For Die Mannschaft, captain Philipp Lahm and defender Benedikt Hoewedes could miss the semifinal if they pick up a booking. Otherwise, all players can be free to play as they wish knowing that yellow cards are reset starting with the semifinal.
Germany are many oddsmakers' favorites to proceed to the semifinal, although they have won only 8 of the 25 all-time meetings between the two bordering nations. France have won 11 of these matches, and both sides drew 6 times.Argentine referee Nestor Pitana will be the man in the middle for this match. While he has received praise in his handling of previous matches this World Cup, he has been known to call the match close to the book. Based on Pitana's history in the Copa. Libertadores and Argentine Primera División, viewers can expect to see many yellow cards if the play turns physical in nature.
Expected France XI (4-3-3): Lloris; Debuchy, Varane, Sakho, Evra/Digne; Pogba, Cabaye, Matuidi; Valbuena, Benzema, Griezmann
Expected Germany XI (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Boateng, Mertesacker, Hummels, Lahm; Khedira, Schweinsteiger; Müller, Kroos, Götze; Klose.