While tonight’s semi-final between France and Germany is more a battle of two top quality teams, rather than individuals, it doesn’t mean that club teammates won’t be facing each other.
Manchester United’s Bastian Schweinsteiger will do battle with Anthony Martial and Morgan Schneiderlin while Juventus’ Sami Khedira will take on Patrice Evra and Paul Pogba.
It’s the same case for Arsenal trio Olivier Giroud, Laurent Koscielny and Mesut Ozil who will clash at the Stade Velodrome tonight.
Arsenal players played a key role in getting their side into the last-four of the competition with Ozil scoring for Germany in their quarter-final match against Italy – although he did miss a penalty in the shootout – while Giroud scored twice as France thrashed Iceland 5-2.
But if Giroud and Koscielny were expecting a similarly comfortable victory against the Germans, their hopes were quickly quashed by Ozil himself, who has revealed the text he sent after his two teammates booked their place in the semi.
“We are still teasing each other,” he told Kicker, per ESPN.
“After the quarter-final, I texted Koscielny to say that we are not Iceland. He replied that it will be big match in Marseille, for us and the fans. We are all looking forward to it.”
CLASH OF THE TITANS
While the players are looking forward to it, so too are the neutrals. The two sides have arguably been the best teams in the competition, scoring 18 goals between them, and boasting top quality players throughout their respective squads.
Whoever does triumph tonight will face Portugal in the final on Sunday and will be considered favourites to lift the Henri Delaunay. But, despite France playing on home soil – and winning the last two international tournaments they hosted in 1984 and 1998 – Ozil believes Germany have enough to proceed to the final.
“Of course, France can bank on the home support but, comparing the potential of both teams, I believe that we can beat them,” Ozil said.
“I believe in us and don’t waste any thoughts on elimination. We are the world champions, we’ve gone all the way to a title before, we beat a big footballing nation like Italy, and finally got rid of the curse [of not beating Italy at a major tournament].”
They may be a bit of banter before the clash but come 8pm in Marseille, the players will be tossing their club allegiances aside and focusing on leading their nation to the final of Euro 2016.