Germany v France – Stade Velodrome at 20:00 live on BBC One

Germany take on hosts France in the second Euro 2016 semi final on Thursday night at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille. It is by far the biggest test so far for pre-tournament favourties France, but they are finally playing like they believe they can lift the trophy on Sunday and are 2.80 favourties to get the job done in 90 minutes against the Germans.

Les Bleus were much fancied coming into the tournament as hosts, with one of the best attacks in the competition. They scored 4 in their 3 group games but despite creating lots of opportunities throughout the matches, 3 of their four goals came after the 89th minute. They topped their group after less than impressive narrow wins over Romania and Albania and a goalless draw against Switzerland.

France’s last 16 match against Ireland saw them outplayed in the first half, going in at half time a goal down. Once again though, they wore down the tired Irish and scored twice in the second half, with a much better performance to set up a quarter final with Iceland. Finally the French attack showed what they can do, putting 5 past the outsiders in a convincing 5-2 victory making them the competitions top scorers on 11.

Similar to France, Die Mannschaft haven’t impressed so far this competition, qualifying top of their group with laboured victories over the Ukraine and Northern Ireland and a goalless draw with Poland. They looked more impressive in their 3-0 last 16 win over Slovakia and with Mario Gomez up front they finally had a focal point and managed to convert more of their many chances.

Unfortunately for Germany, Gomez suffered a hamstring injury in their penalty shoot-out win over Italy in the quarter finals which is a huge blow. They should still be confident to break through the French defence, which have conceded in 3 of their 5 matches so far. Also Germany have never failed to score against France in the 4 times they have met in major finals, but they are going to have to rely on their defence.

Germany have the best defensive record in the competition, keeping 4 clean sheets from their 5 matches and the only goal they have conceded was a penalty against Italy in the quarter finals. Losing midfielder Sami Khedira through injury and defender Mats Hummels will be a blow for Joachim Low though. and could be the difference on Thursday night.

Both sides have excellent records at major competitions, with Germany winning 14 of their last 18, losing just once. France are unbeaten in 17 major competition matches on home soil, winning 15 and drawing twice and with that record deserve to edge favourtism for this encounter.

For me the hosts offer some value down to being the home sides in what will no doubt be an incredible atmosphere at the Stade Velodrome and the fact Germany are missing some key players. France’s star players are also beginning to hit their best form, in particular Antoine Greizmann who has 4 goals and two assists.

It should be a tight match with a single goal nicking it but backing France +/- 0 on the Asian Handicap betting market at 1.88 is my recommendation.

Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: France +/- 0 at 1.88

Prices correct at time of writing.

By @SC457.

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