The Germany juggernaut is rolling on to the semi-finals and EURO2016.com's Steffen Potter believes there is no stopping it now, unless injuries bite against France.
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Been there, done that
This Germany team have performed outstandingly over the last decade: they have reached their sixth consecutive major semi-final since 2006, contested two finals and won the 2014 FIFA World Cup. No other side can boast such experience when it comes to big games and the latter stages of tournaments – not even Spain, who have claimed three titles but have some early exits blotting the copybook. With the core of the Mannschaft based at Bayern, they have the added pedigree of progressing deep into the UEFA Champions League season upon season.
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After 480 minutes of football in France, Germany have yet to ship a single goal from open play, Manuel Neuer only being beaten from the penalty spot. It is not just an impressive defence that has laid the foundations for that, but their aggressive counter-pressing upon losing the ball, consequently leading to the highest possession figure (63%) of any team at these finals.
Over the past few years, Joachim Löw has tried to get his side playing in a more varied way, trialling a back three and other formations. This has resulted in some criticism and a few disappointing friendly scorelines, but Löw and his staff have never been too concerned about that. The pay-off has now become obvious – against Italy, his team proved they can operate a back-three system in a huge match, making Germany more unpredictable than ever for future opponents.
On the other hand ...
To be honest, for most of Sunday, I struggled to find a convincing reason why Germany shouldn't win their semi-final. Then news filtered through that Mario Gomez is sidelined for the rest of the tournament, Sami Khedira is set to miss Thursday's Marseille showdown and Bastian Schweinsteiger remains a major doubt. I know the German squad is deep, but coupled with the pre-tournament losses of İlkay Gündoğan, Marco Reus and Antonio Rüdiger, as well as Mats Hummels's suspension, this could be too much for them to handle.