Key manThomas Muller, left.
Key man
Paul Pogba. *AFP photos
Key man
Thomas Muller, left.
Key man
Paul Pogba.
*AFP photos

GERMANY v FRANCE

(Rio De Janeiro, Friday, 1pm)

Germany manager Joachim Low has been doing his best to downplay the effects of a bout of flu, which has reportedly affected seven members of his squad.

“It’s too early to make any final decisions about the line-up,” said Low, before adding: “It’s not all that bad at the moment. I don’t want to dramatize it.”

It’s not the only thing Low and his men have had to deal with, having copped some flak despite getting past a spirited Algeria side in the second round.

The 2-1 extra-time win did not showcase the side at their most fluent, although their class told in the end.

It did prompt an angry response from the usually mild-mannered Per Mertesacker, who lost his temper at one interveiwer’s line of questioning.

He snapped: “Would you rather we played beautiful football but got knocked out? I don’t know what you want from me — do you think that just Mickey Mouse teams are involved in the last 16?”

France are certainly not that, having impressed fans with a rare show of harmony and solidarity within the squad.

Their 2-0 win over Nigeria in the last 16 was not short of scares but Paul Pogba came to the fore with a goal and his best performance of the tournment.

He, for one, is not afraid of the Germans.

“We are the French national team and we are not afraid of anyone, any team you play you are going to give everything and try to win. 

“There is a lot of solidarity with the players, this is the strength of our group.” 

Prediction: Germany 1-1 France (Germany to win on penalties)