France demolished Iceland 5-2 to set up their semi final clash against the current world champions Germany in Marseille on Thursday night.
Mesut Ozil looked to have sealed Joachim Low’s side victory in normal time after finishing off a lovely move from Mario Gomez, but Jerome Boateng gifted the Italians a route back into the game after handling in the box, allowing Juventus central defender Leonardo Bonucci to step up and send the game into extra time, before the lottery of penalties.
Manuel Neuer saved Matteo Darmian’s ninth spot-kick, which allowed Jonas Hector to step up and fire under Buffon to maintain the German’s record of winning every penalty shootout they’ve been in in the last 40 years.
Coral new customer offer: Germany to qualify - 10/1
It’s been a long time since France got the better of Germany at a major international tournament. You’d have to go all the way back to 1958 to dig out their last win, but they’ll have to find a way of overcoming the world champions on Thursday night if they want to book their place in the final of Euro 2016.
Latest odds: Germany to win Euro 2016 - 13/8
Incidentally, the two sides met in a friendly at the Stade de France back in November when the match was rocked by a huge terror scare, before France went on to win the game 2-0. Olivier Giroud opening the scoring that night and the Arsenal striker is now 11/2 to go on to win the Golden Boot this summer, sitting just one goal behind his teammate Antoine Griezmann, who is the favourite at 8/11.
Latest odds: France to win Euro 2016 - 2/1
The Germans still haven’t conceded in open play at this summer’s championships but that could all change now that Mats Hummels has been ruled out through suspension. What’s more, both Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira are doubts for the holding midfield role meaning there could be unlikely be starts for both Benedikt Howedes and Liverpool’s Emre Can.
France should welcome Adil Rami and N’Golo Kante back into their side. The pair both missed the 5-2 win over Iceland through suspension and should provide more steel in the spine of Didier Deschamps’ XI. A slight cause for concern is that both Laurent Koscielny and Olivier Giroud are one booking away from a ban - which would be a setback if the French go on to reach the Euro 2016 final.
One to watch
Jonas Hector (£3.4m)
The Cologne left-back has proved a revelation in Joachim Low’s side and at just £3.4m he offers a cheap route into Germany’s back four. He’s also been fantastic going forward, helping to set up Ozil’s goal against the Italians last time out and scoring the winning penalty to book the German’s their place in the semi finals.
- Thomas Muller, the pre-tournament favourite for the Golden Boot, is still yet to score at Euro 2016. The Bayern Munich striker is at 6/1 to open the scoring - surely it’s just a matter of time before he finds the back of the net.
- The Germans have only conceded once at this summer’s tournament, which was a late penalty against Italy last time out. They’re at an enhanced price of 7/2 to win to nil in 90mins.
- If France were to win and Laurent Koscielny was to be booked, the Arsenal defender would have to sit out the final. Get odds of 16/1 that he will be the first player to be cautioned.