A mouth watering clash in the FIFA 2014 World Cup quarter final is in the offering when 1998 World Cup winners France takes on 3 time champions Germany. It’s interesting to note that all the Group champions have qualified for the quarterfinals and all teams in the fray are undefeated in this campaign. The German’s impressive start against Portugal, made them favourites along with Netherlands after the first round of fixtures. France on the other hand has shaken off the exclusion of Samir Nasri and the absence of injured Frank Ribery to perform above the expectations.
The victories against Honduras and Switzerland highlighted the free flowing nature of France attacks. There is no one slowing down the counter attacks and they are a lethal force in the oppositions half. Germany on the other hand are one of the best teams technically in this World Cup. The flexible and tactical midfield can create problems for any team in the world. The absence of proper wing backs might hurt them against a fast counter attacking side who can exploit the spaces on the wings. Ahead of their battle for a spot in the last 4, TheHardTackle analysis the game changing battles in France V Germany.
Karim Benzema V Mats Hummels
Karim Benzema is firing on all cylinders at the moment. He is unlucky to have scored only 3 goals in this tournament! His positioning, movement and ability to be at the right place at the right time are the highlights of a clinical France side in this World Cup. Benzema is more deadly when flanked by Valbuena and Greizman, and France are expected to drop Giroud to unleash the fearsome front three. If France are to get the better of Germany, Benzema will be the one to make the difference.
Mats Hummels is expected to return to the heart of German defence which looked susceptible against Algeria. An intelligent defender with excellent game reading abilities, Mats Hummels needs to be on his toes to neutralize Karim Benzema. The lack of pace of Per Mertesacker needs to be covered, and if Mats Hummels isn’t upto the task then Karim Benzema is will be creating pandemonium in the German defence.
Paul Pogba V Philip Lahm
The young french man is slowly coming to terms with the weight of expectations placed on his shoulders. Paul Pogba finally delivered the goods by scoring the vital goal in France’s pre-quarter final win over Nigeria. He is temperamental, but highly talented. On song he is unstoppable, but Pogba needs to keep calm and concentrate on his task if France are to get the upper hand in the game.
Versatile captain of the Germany football team, Philip Lahm will be tasked with shielding his defence once again. The intelligent player, will have to stop the forays of Paul Pogba and co, as well as cutting out the potentially dangerous defence splitting passes. Germany’s short passing game require Philip Lahm to build the game from the back. Expect the tall-lanky Frenchman to give Lahm a nightmare and this midfield battle will have a crucial role in deciding the outcome of the match.
Rafael Varane V Thomas Muller
One of the best young defenders in the game, Rafael Varane will be tasked with keeping the mercurial Thomas Muller quiet in the match. Rafael Varane is still a raw defender, but on his day he can boss the opposition attacks with supreme authority. He isn’t afraid to put tackles or engage in an aerial battle. Rafael Varane’s pace and positioning will be the crucial factor when he comes up against Thomas Muller.
Golden boot winner in 2010 FIFA World Cup has already 4 goals registered to his name. Dynamic and flexible German attacks is the mercurial attacker, who will be deployed in a false 9 position, yet again. Thomas Muller is not only a natural goal scorer but also a technically brilliant creator. He can open up the defence with his passing and movement, and at the same time can kill the game through his finishing as well. If Rafael Varane fails to keep a check on Thomas Muller, then he is expected to take them to the Semi Finals.
France V Germany is going to be an exciting encounter with excellent players lining up on both the sides. Both France and Germany are aided a by an inform forward and will be expecting them to make the difference in World Cup quarter finals. The sub battles within this battle is going to key to both teams success and it remains to be seen how the events are going to unfold in Maracana.