France must go on the attack to have any chance of finally beating Germany, says Deschamps
Hosts haven’t beaten their opponents at a major tournament in 58 years
France coach Didier Deschamps has called on Les Bleus to go on the attack to end a 58-year wait to beat Germany in a major tournament and book a spot in the Euro 2016 final.
“We can’t change past history, but we’ve got our own page to write,” Deschamps said in Marseille on Wednesday.
“It’s the players who have to write this page because for the moment it’s blank. We’re facing the best team in the world, but the lads have to believe and we want the fans to believe in us too.”
France play Germany on Thursday seeking their first win over Die Mannschaft at a major tournament since the 1958 World Cup in Sweden when Les Bleus won 6-3.
Whoever comes out on top will play the winners of Wednesday’s match between Portugal and Wales in Sunday’s Stade de France final.
World Cup holders Germany booked their place in the last four in a dramatic, 18-kick penalty shootout with Italy.
The match in Bordeaux was 1-1 after 90 minutes and extra-time and Italy’s goal was the first conceded by German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer in regulation time at the tournament.
Deschamps said Neuer will have to be beaten more to get past Joachim Loew’s side.
“We need to score goals. This is a team that doesn’t concede a lot of goals,” said Deschamps, who saw his side book their last four spot with an impressive 5-2 win over England’s conquerors Iceland.
“Everyone talks about their attack, but they know how to defend.
“Against Italy, as soon as they lost possession, they harrassed them to get possession back,” Deschamps added.
“Germany take command of their games and they dominate possession but we can’t go into this match thinking we’re going to defend then hit on the counter-attack.
“With all the respect we have for Germany, we have a great chance and we’re going to take it with both hands.”
Despite missing key players with injury and suspension, and with striker Thomas Mueller yet to find the net, Germany are in confident mood.
The history books also suggest that France face an uphill task.
Germany have beaten France three times since 1958 in World Cup matches.
Germany won in the last eight on their way to World Cup triumph in 2014 and in the semi-final of the 1986 World Cup. In the 1982 World Cup semi-final the Germans beat France 5-4 in a penalty shootout.
Deschamps says past history won’t count: “You can’t compare with past games.”
A World Cup winner with France in 1998, before lifting the European Championship two years later, Deschamps is in the relatively unique position of contending the title as a coach after winning it as a player.
But he says the success and the joy of his players is paramount.
“It’s not every day you get to play a European Championship semi-final but to be totally honest I don’t even think about myself,” he said.
“I’ve never worried about my future, that’s part of my strength. It’s a privilege for me to be the coach of France because it means a lot to me.
“I get a lot from the players’ experiences, and I want us to go as far as possible.”