Football betting: Ruthless Germans to spoil France’s party in Euro 2016 semi-final

 
Ben Cleminson
Germany v Slovakia - Round of 16: UEFA Euro 2016
Manuel Neuer made two saves as Germany beat Italy in a quarter-final penalty shoot-out (Source: Getty)

Germany's last semi-final came two years ago at the World Cup in Brazil, where they humbled the hosts 7-1 in possibly the most shocking football result of all time.

France face the Germans in the Euro 2016 semi-final in Marseille on Thursday evening hoping that history doesn’t repeat itself.

Joachim Low’s side have form for spoiling the party – they have eliminated the host nation nine times in World Cups and European Championships, with six of those coming in semi-finals.

After battling past Italy via a penalty shoot-out on Saturday, the world champions have the smell of their eighth major tournament victory in their nostrils.

Standing in their way is a French side who have yet to be truly tested.

A relatively simple group was won without too much fuss, and Ireland and Iceland were put to the sword in their knockout matches.

While they turned on the style in Sunday’s 5-2 victory over Iceland, doubts still linger over how Didier Deschamps’ side will fare against a world-class team.

Already threadbare at the back after injuries and suspensions before the tournament, eighth-choice centre-back Samuel Umtiti made his international debut in the Iceland victory, and this defensive fragility could be exposed by a Germany side who are the experts in ruthlessness.

Where France don’t lack, however, is up front.

The five goals they scored in the quarter-final were the most any side have scored at Euro 2016.

The tournament’s current top scorer Antoine Griezmann netted that day and is growing in confidence with every game, while Olivier Giroud is amongst the goals and Dimitri Payet provides another attacking threat.

Getting past Manuel Neuer might be a different proposition, however.

The German keeper has only conceded once – a penalty by Leonardo Bonucci in the quarters – keeping five clean sheets in the first five matches of the tournament.

Despite France’s fine display against Iceland, I think they’ll struggle to breach the German wall.

Indeed, with Mario Gomez injured and Germany likely to go in without a recognised striker, this will be a tight, tense affair – as semi-finals often are.

I think this match will go the distance, and I am very tempted by the 2/1 with Betway for a draw after 90 minutes.

The same firm also make it 9/1 for Germany to win in extra-time, which I will also be backing.

Such a defeat would be heartbreaking for hosts France, but as England fans will remember from Euro '96, the Germans won’t care.

As a tournament, goals have been at a premium, with far more emphasis on organisation, avoiding defeat, and defensive solidity.

I don’t see that pattern breaking as the pressure continues to grow into the last four.

The last five matches between these two sides have only yielded nine goals, including a cagey 1-0 win for Germany in the 2014 World Cup quarter-final.

I recommend selling total goals at 2.15 with Sporting Index.

Pointers

Draw 2/1 (Betway)

Germany to win in extra-time 9/1 (Betway)

Sell total goals 2.15 (Sporting Index)

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