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"The Morale Final" is perhaps the most used-up term in major tournament history, but in this case its use might be correct. All credit to Portugal and Wales, who have had impressive tournaments, but it's plain to see who the strongest teams left in the tournament are. Germany and France have without a doubt been the two most impressive sides in these Euros, with Germany perhaps just edging the title of most convincing so far.

Joachim Löw's men have been at their highest level in almost all their matches in France this past month. In their first game of the knockout stages Slovakia posed no threat to them and were comfortably dispatched. The quarter-final against Italy was their first proper test of the Euros, and although the game went to penalties it was Germany who were in the driving seat for most of the match. The Germans controlled the ball without giving Italy any proper chances to counter-attack - a feat that no other team the Italians had faced before had achieved.

For France their knockout stages have gone in similar vein to Germany's, although their first proper scare came in the last 16 match against Ireland. The Irish went 0-1 up early on thanks to a penalty and managed to hold on to their lead for quite some time. However, France finally managed to break through in the second half with two quick-fire goals, and they looked like a completely different team afterwards. That confidence boost showed in their quarter-final against Iceland, and even the previously stubborn Icelandic defence couldn't prevail against wave after wave of French attacks. That 5-2 victory shows that France have found their form - and at the most crucial time. 

However, France are yet to face any of the best European teams on paper at Euro 2016, so despite their magnificent attacking efforts they can't be counted as favourites on Thursday. Ireland and Iceland aren't even close to Germany's level. The hosts' defence was highlighted as a possible weakness prior to the tournament, as only a couple of absences leave them rather short at the back. France now face a rather similar situation that Belgium had in the quarter-finals, as they have plenty of attacking prowess, but a lack of solidity in defence could be their undoing. On the other hand, this tournament has shown that unlike Belgium, France are tactically organized in defence and lethal going forward. Before the match against Iceland no team had scored against them from open play, as both the goals they'd conceded had come from the penalty spot. Although Iceland did manage to breach their defence twice from open play, France had already secured the win at that point and weren't concentrating fully on defending. It will be interesting to see how they manage against a team with as much attacking talent as Germany do.

Meanwhile, France haven't faced a team as solid as Germany are defensively at the Euros so far. Löw has masterminded their defence to be so tight that they're yet to concede from open play at Euro 2016. Italy were the first to put the ball behind Manuel Neuer's back, but that goal came from the penalty spot after Jérôme Boateng's ludicrous hand ball. Otherwise Neuer has had fairly little to do in all of Germany's other games in the tournament, that's just how good they've been.

Now Germany will also face a completely different kind of test, and their injury situation going into the match isn't helping them. Their top scorer with two goals, Mario Gomez will miss the rest of the Euros due to a groin injury he picked up against Italy. Midfielder Sami Khedira's tournament is also said to be over. Their experienced captain Bastian Schweinsteiger is also suffering from an injury and his involvement on Thursday is doubtful. Germany will also be bemoaning the absence of one of the best defenders in the world, as Mats Hummels is suspended for the semi-final. Germany do have a lot of strength in depth, but no team can be the same with three key players missing - not even Germany.

Germany at Euro 2016:

2.7. Germany - Italy 2-1 (after penalties)

26.6. Germany - Slovakia 3-0

21.6. Northern Ireland - Germany 0-1

16.6. Germany - Poland 0-0

12.6. Germany - Ukraine 2-0

France at Euro 2016:

3.7. France - Iceland 5-2

26.6. France - Ireland 2-1

19.6. Switzerland - France 0-0

15.6. France - Albania 2-0

10.6. France - Romania 2-1


Germany's injury woes give France a better chance, especially with key defender Mats Hummels out. However, Germany are Germany and they have an unparalleled routine in games like this. The bookies' have favoured France too much so our money is definitely on Germany!

** 1x2: Germany 2/1 Betsson / Unibet

** To progress: Germany 24/25 Unibet

Don't forget to check out our Preview and Tips for Portugal - Wales!



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Unibet are offering new players up to £30 in bonus money as a refund if their first bet loses! This heavyweight of the betting world can’t be ignored, and they’re also one of Mr. Turtle’s favourite places to bet at!
Redbet betting bonus  RedBet >>

Redbet’s welcoming bonus for new players is great – 50% up to £50! Redbet are also offering free spins whenever you place a bet of at least £5 on a Euro 2016 match, so join now and enjoy the bonuses!


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