FRANCE’S unhappy history against Germany in the World Cup is looming over today’s quarter-final encounter in the Maracana.
Not since 1958 have France e merged victorious, while there are still sore feelings over the infamous 1982 semi-final when West Germany won on penalties, but only after France defender Patrick Battiston suffered a broken neck in a challenge by keeper Harald Schumacher that went unpunished.
Pictures of the Battiston incident dominated France’s sports daily L’Equipe on Wednesday, highlighting the context of the game.
France’s Tottenham keeper Hugo Lloris said France will be looking to write a new page of history - and that Les Bleus are approaching the match without trepidation but with “sheer enjoyment”. He told a news conference in Rio de Janeiro: “We are not afraid of anything - we know full well that in one match just about anything is possible including for this to be our last one in the World Cup.
“But but there is no fear, it’s a real pleasure, a sheer joy to play Germany.
“We want to win this match for our friends, our families, for France!
“There is a long history between both nations but as far as we are concerned we live for the present moment, we want to write our own history.”
France also lost out to West Germany in the 1986 semifinals but this time Didier Deschamps’ side are riding a confidence surge that has seen them reach the last eight without facing a serious challenge and playing some impressive stuff.
Deschamps said: “We have played a very good World Cup and we will have a major opponent in Germany who are used to these situations.
“They always seem to get to the quarter-finals, semifinals or final so are more experienced.
“Our strong points are that our players are very competitive and some play for major European clubs at a top level so we have had to make them more united.
“The fact that you are in the French team means you have duties and responsibilities and the spirit has been very high since the beginning of our preparation period.
“There is no pressure on the players, history is what has been and gone and tomorrow we will maybe write a new page in history.”
- Germany boss Joachim Low believes England’s World Cup disaster was in part caused by the high percentage of foreign players in the Premier League.
Low, speaking ahead of his side’s World Cup quarterfinal with France, said by contrast Germany is benefiting from a lot of young players coming through into the Bundesliga.
Low said: “Of course the English league has a disadvantage with a higher percentage of foreigners playing there and it becomes difficult for the national coach to get things moving.
“I think having many foreigners playing there is part of England’s problem. Since 2009 things have changed for us and lots of young German players are coming through.
“We have a good blend, a strong league with three teams who are among the best in Europe with experience in tough competitions but I am not unhappy if some play in a foreign country and see other cultures and other coaches.
“Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira do for example and that can be of value and they can learn new things.”