Ir'a bit disappointing knowing either Germany or France will be packing their bags after tomorrow's quarter-final game in Rio de Janeiro. Both teams have been a pleasure to watch as they finished top of their respective groups without losing a game. There's no question that both teams deserve to have made it this far, and perhaps the disappointment is in knowing that this won't be a semi-final. Whoever wins, it'll be quite a close call.
France and Germany haven't met in the World Cup after Germany's unification. West Germany faced France in the match for third place at World Cup 1958, the French leading 3:1 at half-time and winning 6:3. Just Fontaine scored 4 goals for the French and became the tournament's top-scorer with 13 goals, the most any player has ever scored in a single World Cup, a record that's still in effect. The Germans would have to wait 24 years to beat the French in an official match. It was the semi-final of the 1982 World Cup. After Platini's penalty equalizer, the Germans came back twice with goals from Rummenigge and Fischer. The match went to a penalty shootout in which the Germans emerged victorious. (Unfortunately, the game is also remembered for 'the most notorious foul in World Cup history', one which badly injured French player Patrick Battiston and was seemingly ignored by the referee.)
Watch the 1982 World Cup semi-final below (with French commentary):
Four years later, the teams would meet in the World Cup semi-finals yet again. It was another win for the Germans, who kept a clean sheet this time. Yet the Mannschaft of the 80's were the Oranje of the 70's, reaching consecutive finals and coming up short (interestingly, both Germany and the Netherlands lost a final to Argentina).
Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow...
History will be made should France win tomorrow's Quarter-Final. Excluding West Germany's Olympic Qualifier in 1984, Les Bleus haven't beaten the Germans in an official game since 1958. Germany, meanwhile, will be looking for more than a 3rd consecutive 3rd-place finish. They have been the best passers in World Cup 2014 thus far and are ahead of the French in all statistics. France have committed more fouls and collected more yellow cards, which isn't reassuring for the team that didn't make it out of the Group Stage in South Africa four years ago.
Although Germany may be seen as the favorites in this match-up, a French comeback shouldn't be ruled out. At the helm, Les Bleus have Didier Deschamps, the captain of the 1998 World Cup-winning French side. Considering the team's improvements and Karim Benzema's excellent form, there's hope yet for Deschamps and co.
France vs Germany - Facts and Figures
- Head-to-Head (including West Germany stats): 27 games, 12-7-8
- Last 3 meetings: 0:0, 2:1, 1:2
- All meetings considered, France and Germany have scored 43 goals each, with a goal difference of 0.
- Both France and Germany have reached back-to-back finals in the Euro and World Cup.
- As a general rule, teams that do well in the European Championship tend to do well in the subsequent World Cup. France reached the QF's of Euro 2012, while Germany reached the semi-finals.
- Both teams have won the World Cup, France with 1 win (1998) and Germany with 3 (1954, 1974, 1990).
- Top 4 finishes: Germany - 12, France - 5
- France are the only team to win the World Cup and concede only 2 goals in the tournament (1998).
- Germany won the 1954 World Cup while both scoring and conceding the greatest number of goals of any WC winner (25-14).
- Record in World Cup PK shootouts: France - LWWL, Germany - WWWW
2-2 (Germany win in ET or PK's) - It'll be a fairly even game, with a bit of a German advantage. But as we've seen, a sturdy defense can keep them at bay. The French have only conceded 2 goals in the tournament, three times less than the U.S., who only lost 1-0 to Germany in the Group Stage. If the game goes to penalties, Germany are the clear favorites, having never lost in a World Cup penalty shootout. In essence, it'll be a replay of the 1982 semi-final, only with less goals.
2014 FIFA World Cup Quarter-Finals
France vs Germany - 12pm/ET
Local TV: Univision