Olivier Giroud believes France have a chance to overturn a history of failure against Germany at major tournaments in what promises to be an “extraordinary” Euro 2016 semi-final.
Arsenal striker Giroud netted a brace as the hosts stormed to a 5-2 quarter-final victory over Iceland at Stade de France on Sunday, setting up Thursday’s Marseille blockbuster versus Joachim Low’s world champions.
On the road to glory at Brazil 2014, an early Mats Hummels goal gave Germany a 1-0 quarter-final win over Les Bleus, who have to look back to the third-place play-off at the 1958 World Cup for the last time they beat their rivals in a competitive fixture.
Giroud scored his maiden international goal in a 2-1 win over Germany in 2012 and did likewise in a 2-0 friendly victory against the same opponents last November.
“France hasn’t beaten Germany [competitively] since 1958? I’m not really aware of these statistics,” he told a news conference.
“We have to change this. I have some memories that with Germany we always have close matches.
“It’s two great nations and we feel like changing this trend.
“This is going to be an extraordinary match. The players are playing well. We hope to be happy and have a lot of pleasure in playing this Euro.
“To succeed we have to beat Germany. We also respect them as world champions. To go to the end, we have to beat this very big team.”
The defeat two years ago in Rio does not sit well with Giroud, who believes Didier Deschamps’ squad have grown considerably during the intervening period.
“I don’t have a film in my head about this game but it was a very close match, very stressful – decided by a free-kick,” Giroud explained, reflecting on a decisive 13th-minute header from Hummels, who will be suspended this time around.
“Great matches are decided by such details and we have to be very concentrated with a lot of confidence in ourselves.
“We have to have a good start to the match. The 1-0 loss against the world champions was very frustrating.
“We have a group that has worked very well together for the last two years. There is a lot of possibility to hope.
“Germany is a very experienced group. They are at their peak and are a remarkable team.
“They are very confident they are world champions. We’ve never beaten them in the finals and this is something we are going to have to change.”
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