3 July 2014 15:01
France will be out for revenge for two painful defeats in the 1980s when they face Germany in Friday’s FIFA World Cup quarter-final.
France went out to West Germany in acrimonious circumstances in the semi-final in Spain in 1982, a game made infamous for goalkeeper Harald Schumacher’s challenge on Patrick Battiston.
Having misjudged a charge from his line, the keeper clattered into the onrushing Frenchman, knocking him unconscious and dislodging two teeth in the process.
No foul was given and with Battiston carried off on a stretcher, Franz Derwall’s men came back from 3-1 down in extra-time to level at 3-3 – Schumacher keeping out the decisive penalty from Maxime Bossis in the ensuing shootout.
Four years later and at the same stage, West Germany were victorious again in Mexico.
Goals from Andreas Brehme and Rudi Voller earned Franz Beckenbauer’s side a 2-0 win and a passage to the final, where they lost to Argentina.
Yet to meet again at a World Cup since that day 28 years ago, France and Germany prepare for Friday’s last-eight clash in Rio de Janeiro with a place in the semi-final against hosts Brazil or Colombia at stake.
France, largely unfancied before the tournament began, were initially impressive in the group stages before a more workmanlike performance against Nigeria in the second round saw them progress 2-0.
Paul Pogba scored the opening goal in that victory, and the midfielder insists he and his team-mates have nothing to fear ahead of the clash with Joachim Low’s team.
“No, I am not afraid … we are the French national team and we are not afraid of anyone, any team you play you are going to give everything and try to win,” said the Juventus man.
“There is a lot of solidarity with the players, this is the strength of our group.”
Germany, meanwhile, needed extra-time to see off Algeria 2-1 in the last 16, and there was worrying news when Low announced on Thursday that up to seven players had been showing symptoms of flu – which kept Mats Hummels out of their second-round game.
In an open encounter in Porto Alegre, Germany were not at their best, but Low knows the end result is all that matters.
“You can’t always play fantastic football at a World Cup,” he said. “You’ve just got to leave the field triumphant.
“We have worked hard and realised what we must improve. It’s only normal that you keep on learning throughout a tournament.”
As well as the sickness bug, Germany continue to sweat on the fitness of Lukas Podolksi (thigh) while Shkodran Mustafi has been ruled out of the remainder of the tournament with a similar problem.
France could be without defender Mamadou Sakho, who missed the win over Nigeria with a thigh injury.