Friday Jul 04, 2014. 10:28
One European team will be guaranteed a spot in the World Cup semi-finals when familiar foes France and Germany battle at the Estadio do Maracana on Friday evening, kick-off at 18h00 (CAT).
The two nations are the exact split to the number of European teams remaining in the tournament so far and both France and Germany have been playing some of the best football from that continent.
France’s passage into the quarter-finals of the campaign saw them top Group E and edge out Nigeria in the round of the Last 16 on Monday evening,
It was an end-to-end game which saw Vincent Enyeama pull off a great display in between the sticks to keep the scoreline at bay all the way until the 79th minute.
Man of the Match Paul Pogba broke with an impressive strike of his own manner, before an own goal by the recently retired Jospeh Yobo finalized a 2-0 scoreline.
Les Bleus head coach, Didier Deschamps, has kept both feet firmly on the ground of the tantalizing all-European affair as he looks to successfully succeed World Cup and Euro winner Laurent Blanc.
“The reality now is Germany on Friday. Everyone can dream, including me, but I'm a pragmatist and a realist, Friday is the only thing that counts,” said the 1998 World Cup winner.
"We're going there to give it everything we've got. I'm very proud and the players deserve it, it's a huge pleasure for me and my staff to be involved on a daily basis with them and to manage them, to be with them. But we're not going there as tourists on Friday."
Germany meanwhile are aiming to echo and go beyond the great run they procured on home soil back in 2006, where they reached the semifinal before bowing out in extra time to eventual winners Italy.
The pressure is on for Joachim Low. Despite having made it into the final eight of the competition, the German tankers have been criticized for their lack of convincing displays in the competition.
Algeria nearly put a spanner in the works on Monday evening when they pushed the Germans all the way into extra time.
An impressive display by Rais M’bohli saw the likes of Thomas Muller, Mario Gutze and Philip Lahm kept at bay, but it wasn’t for two late goals by Andre Schurrle and Mesut Ozil that saw the game end 2-1.
“You need to catch your breath after a game like that, and at the end it was sheer force of will that got us the win,” said Louw after the game.
“We didn’t get into our rhythm in the first half and lost a lot of balls, but we were the better team after the break and in extra time.
“Didier Deschamps has turned France around since 2010 and we're looking forward to another classic.”