Thursday, July 7, 2016—Semifinal #2 Match Preview
Germany vs. France [20:00] (ESPN, ESPN3, WatchESPN, ESPN Deportes Radio, ESPN Radio (US), BBC 5 Radio Live, TalkSport Radio (UK); 3 p.m. EDT/12 p.m. PDT): Dimitri Payet and host nation France face Mesut Özil and defending World Cup champions Germany on Thursday at Stade Vélodrome in Marseille in this second Semifinal with the match winner destined to be the solid chalks for this weekend’s Final. Oddsmakers here have made both France slight +180 favorites over Germany (+200) with a Draw priced at very low +200 (Bet365) with the Total (Goals) set at 2 with the Over now juiced at -118 (NetBet) after getting some early money on Monday. Some Props wagers: Both Teams To Score: ‘Yes’ +100, ‘No’ -137 (Bet365); Draw No Bet: France -120, Germany -120 (Bet365); Correct Score: 0-0, +650 (William Hill), France 1-0, +650 (Paddy Power), Germany 1-0, +650 (BetVictor), France 2-1, 11/1 (Boylesports), Germany 2-1, 11/1 (Boylesports); To Win To Nil: France +333, Germany +333 (Bet365); Total Corners: 9½: Over -183, Under +130 (Bwin); and, To Qualify: France -105 (NetBet), Germany +100 (188Bet).
Germany (+184/1 to win EURO 2016, 888Sport) and Head Coach Joachim Löw head in here with some serious liabilities, with Striker Mario Gómez (Fiorentina) out for the rest of this EURO 2016 with a torn Thigh muscle, CB Mats Hummels Suspended for Yellow Card accumulation and Midfielders Bastian Schweinsteiger (Manchester United) and Sami Khedira (Juventus) both currently listed as Doubtful. So Germany (WWDWWD) will look to to rally around its world class Goalkeeper and Sweeper Keeper extraordinaire Manuel Neuer (Fußball-Club Bayern München)—who has only allowed one goal from Open Play heading here—and their lockdown Defense to try to find a way by. If Schweinsteiger can’t go, Löw and DFB-Elf may have to call on Emre Can (Liverpool) or Julian Weigl (Borussia Dortmund) and healthy attacking players for Germany like Thomas Müller, Mesut Özil (8/1 Man of the Match, BetVictor), Toni Kroos, Julian Draxler and maybe even Mario Götze or André Schürrle will play up to their potential and stay healthy.
To get here, Germany went 2-1-0 in Group (C) Stage play (3 GF-0 GA), shutting out Ukraine (2-0) and Northern Ireland (1-0) and playing to a 0-0 Draw with Poland, and defeating Slovakia 3-0 in the Round of 16 as Neuer registered his 4th straight Clean Sheet followed by Saturday’s dramatic Penalty Kick Shootout win (6-5) over Italy after the game remained deadlocked at 1-1 after 90 minutes and Extra Time. In the advance and PK SO win over Italy, Löw employed a Starting XI of: GK Manuel Neuer; Defenders Benedikt Höwedes, Jérôme Boateng, Mats Hummels; Joshua Kimmich, Sami Khedira, Toni Kroos, Jonas Hector; Mesut Özil; and Thomas Müller, Mario Gómez up top. Captain Bastian Schweinsteiger came in for the injured Khedira while Julian Draxler was substituted in for the hurt Striker Gómez. The two Name the Finalists Prop bets involving Germany see a potential Germany-Portugal (high) Final priced at +200 (Bet365) with a Wales-Germany EURO 2016 Final priced twice as high at +400 (Bet365).
UEFA EURO 2016 host nation France (+200 to win EURO 2016, Coral) and Head Coach Didier Deschamps have gotten to this point by playing a nice combination of Offense and Defense, maybe more so than any other team in this now 24-team tournament. Like Germany, GK Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur) and France went 2-1-0 in Group (A) Stage play (4 GF-1 GA), beating Romania 2-1 in the tournament opener on June 10, blanking Albania 2-0 in its second match and then playing to a meaningless 0-0 Draw with Switzerland in its third game, after a berth in the Knockout Round and 1st place in the Group had already been secured. In the Round of 16, Les Bleus (WWWDWW) then topped a gutty Northern Ireland side, 2-1 to advance to the Quarterfinals where France melted Iceland’s dreams on Sunday, smashing the Strákarnir okkar, 5-2, thanks to a 4-0 1st Half as Olivier Giroud (2 goals), Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann and Dimitri Payet all scored in the first 45+ minutes for the French. In the win over Iceland, France Head Coach Deschamps had a Starting XI of: GK Hugo Lloris; Defenders Bacary Sagna, Laurent Koscielny, Samuel Umtiti and Patrice Evra; MF Blaise Matuidi, Yohan Cabaye, Paul Pogba, Kingsley Coman; and Striker Antoine Griezmann. The two Name the Finalists Prop bets involving France see a potential France-Portugal EURO 2016 Final priced at (a high of) +200 (Bwin) with a France-Wales Final (high) priced at +450 (Coral), the most improbable Final matchup now according to the odds. But what do they know?
Marseille, France Weather Forecast, Conclusions, Picks
The Weather Forecast for Marseille on Thursday evening is currently calling for Partly Cloudy Skies, a Low of 70° with S Winds of 5-10 mph, so, absolutely perfect in almost every possible way, Weather-wise and theoretically a good thing for the Over with crisper Passes and Shots made much easier with warmer temperatures and little Wind. And especially in the context that the Forecast for Marseille for the previous night (Wednesday) is calling for 20-30 mph Wind speeds and much gustier conditions, making those simple things twice as hard, fighting Mother Nature on top of your opponent. The winner of this second EURO 2016 Semifinal between Germany (#4 FIFA ranking) and France (FIFA ranking #17) will definitely provide the distinct odds favorite in the Final on July 10 (Sunday) in Saint-Denis. And with Germany having advanced in seven straight major tournaments against host nations—including Brazil in the last World Cup, won by Germany—the Trend definitely supports Germany and you can see when this team is still the favorites to win this tourney despite not even being favorites in this match at the vast majority of sportsbooks. Go figure. But those past German teams had Philipp Lahm (Retired), Gómez (Injured), Hummels (Suspended), Schweinsteiger (Injured, Doubtful) and Khedira (Injured, Doubtful) to work with, while France has never had four guys clicking on the attack on Offense as it does now with the electric Payet (14/1 France Winner/Payet Top Goalscorer, Paddy Power), Pogba (14/1 France Winner/Pogba Top Goalscorer, Sky Bet), Griezmann (-275 France Winner/Griezmann Top Goalscorer, Sky Bet) and Olivier Giroud (+500 France Winner/Giroud Goalscorer, BetVictor).
Heading into Wednesday’s the Semifinals, both Germany and GK Neuer and France GK Lloris have been brilliant, but expect them both to be tested more with more organized, talented and confident attack forces coming at their way. Lifetime, Laurent Koscielny and France are 12-6-9 (43 GF-43 GA) in all competitions against Germany and Les Bleus, and, strangely enough these two haven’t met in EURO play with all matches between the two either coming in the World Cup (4 matches) or simple Friendlies (23). The last time France and Germany (WDWWD) met was in a Friendly was last November (Friday the 13th) in France at Stade de France in Paris with the French and Lloris registering a 2-0 Clean Sheet with Giroud (45’) and André-Pierre Gignac (86’) scoring for the hosts. And the last time France and Germany met in a really meaningful match was in the Quarterfinals of the 2012 World Cup in Brazil where Germany won and advanced, 1-0, thanks to a Mats Hummel header at the 13-minute mark.
But all of that rich history reflects healthier and deeper German sides and less-talented French ones, at least on the attack. Because of the way Payet, Pogba, Griezmann and Giroud have been playing together as well as the Home French Site, expecting a quicker pace and more scoring than most might anticipate seems smart in a do-or-die situation and someone should probably score in the first 35 minutes, setting the tone for the match. France comes in healthier, more Confident and at Home in Marseille were Les Bleus will definitely get the crowd support to help try to get by Germany. And with Gómez and Hummels out and Khedira and Schweinsteiger big question marks, the lean here has to go to Les Bleus. Germany simply looks like it is in the wrong place at the wrong time here. But luckily for them, they are battled-tested, very well-versed at winning tournaments on unfriendly soil and have the best GK (Neuer) in the world. And Germany will need really him here in Marseille on Thursday.
PREDICTED FINAL SCORE: Germany 1 France 2
EURO 2016 PICK: Over 2 -114 (10Red)
EURO 2016 SEMIFINALS PROPS BET PICKS: Both Teams To Score ‘Yes’ +111 (188Bet), Germany To Score (‘Yes’) -250 (William Hill)