Three key battles: Germany v France

France team reporter David Crossan and Germany counterpart Steffen Potter select three individual duels which could prove decisive to the outcome of Thursday's semi-final in Marseille.

Olivier Giroud (France) & Manuel Neuer (Germany)

Olivier Giroud v Manuel Neuer
Steffen Potter, Germany (@UEFAcomSteffenP): Knowing Neuer, he will not care that Giroud scored against him in three games during the season just gone. The Bayern keeper has only been beaten from the spot so far in France and this should give him added confidence – not that he needs it of course.

That said, considering Giroud's recent success against him, the forward will not be intimidated by Neuer's stature or reputation should a chance present itself.

David Crossan, France (@UEFAcomDavidC): Giroud became the first player to score against Neuer in three consecutive matches when he netted in France's 2-0 friendly win against the world champions last November.

Giroud, who also beat Neuer in both of Arsenal's UEFA Champions League group stage meetings with Bayern last autumn, said: "I've scored goals against him in the past and I hope my team-mates will be able to do the same on Thursday. He's not an insurmountable wall."

Paul Pogba v Bastian Schweinsteiger
Steffen Potter, Germany (@UEFAcomSteffenP): Pogba is regarded as one of the world's best midfielders, so whoever is up against him will have a tough task. Bastian Schweinsteiger is Joachim Löw's No1 choice, should he be fit, but the Manchester United player is surely not 100%.

Watch classic semi-finals featuring France and Germany
Watch classic semi-finals featuring France and Germany

Emre Can and, more so, Julian Weigl are unproven at this level and will face a stern test against a footballer of Pogba's class.

David Crossan, France (@UEFAcomDavidC): "Not a No10" was Didier Deschamps' assessment of Pogba before the tournament. The Juventus man has certainly excelled since being repositioned in a deeper role at half-time against the Republic of Ireland.

Though he is encouraged to keep it simple, Pogba can do damage with his passing range and contributed his first international goal of the season against Iceland. He should have the advantage over whoever is selected against him in the middle, though he will have to keep an eye on Mesut Özil's scheming.

Laurent Koscielny v Thomas Müller
Steffen Potter, Germany (@UEFAcomSteffenP): With Mario Gomez injured, Müller is the only player left in Germany's squad who likes to run in behind opposing defences. For that reason, I believe Löw will deploy him up front.

With Koscielny sometimes having problems dealing with such incursions from deep and turning towards his own goal, this could be Müller's opportunity to ignite his EURO campaign.

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David Crossan, France (@UEFAcomDavidC): Koscielny and the rest of the France defence would probably have preferred Gomez to have been fit. The Arsenal centre-back has been aerially dominant at these finals and is comfortable coping with a target man.

However, Müller is a different proposition, whether drifting infield from the right or foraging more centrally. The Bayern attacker surely has to make an impact at some point in France and Koscielny's organisational skills will be closely examined, especially if club-mate Özil manages to find pockets of space.